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CRAIG MAKES STRONG START TO 2017 SEASON

Craig Lowndes made a strong start to his 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship campaign in Adelaide on the weekend.

Late race fuel consumption concerns cost Craig two places late in the opening leg of the Clipsal 500 on Saturday, where he finished eighth in his TeamVortex Holden Commodore.

In Sunday’s second leg, Craig again made good progress forward throughout the race and finished a competitive 10th.

"We're very pleased with where we've ended up, we've made a lot of progress over the weekend. I think we had much more potential in the car than where we finished, but you've got to take those days. We made improvements with the car, we're top 10 in the championship, which is great, and we go away from this weekend with a lot more knowledge. We do have to clean up our qualifying, but we've got some good ideas for that going into our next round."

Friday

  • Very warm conditions
  • Two quick practice sessions, then qualifying
  • Craig 21st in Practice 1
  • Craig 21st in Practice 2
  • Craig qualifies 13th for Race 1

"It's been a pretty hectic day, to be honest. We've had two practice sessions. In the first one we were getting our heads around the circuit and the tyres. The second session was much better, more productive. I think we made good in-roads into the balance of the car. Although we were 13th in qualifying, I'm happy. We made some more gains again, there's no doubt the car is strong and it feels better.

The competition is very tight, a tenth of a second has just bumped us out of the top 10. I think if we put all our best sectors together we might have just snuck in, but from where we started this morning to where we've ended up we're a lot happier with the car balance and flow, and I believe we'll be very competitive for the race. It's a shame that we miss the Top Ten Shootout tomorrow, but last year we missed it and we managed to have a strong weekend here."

Saturday

  • Craig starts Race 1 in 13th
  • Craig runs strong race, moves up the order
  • Late race fuel conservation costs two spots, finishes 8th

"We made some changes from the practice session this morning, which improved the car, it was much nicer to drive and was very kind on its tyres. We had a ripper start in the race and got amongst it all in the beginning. The strategy was to go long at the start of the race, which we did. We had a great battle with Nick Percat in that middle stint and we hoped to make more progress, but we just couldn't find a way past. Then in the closing stages we had a great battle trying to catch Rick Kelly, but of course we had Jamie (Whincup) behind us. Our rear tyres were starting to go off towards the end, but our biggest issue was fuel. We were conserving fuel in those last three laps to bring it home, which allowed Jamie and Percat to pass. All in all, to start where we did in 13th and finish eighth was a good achievement. The guys did a great job and the car was great to drive."

Sunday

  • Craig qualifies 15th for Race 2
  • Craig moves steadily forward, finishes 10th in Race 2

"It was a much better day today, the car was a lot better. We qualified worse off, but that was because of a mistake I made at turn nine and that was something that I was annoyed with myself about. The guys did a great job again. In the race we had great car pace and great tyre life, which is a positive that we'll take out of this weekend."


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