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LATE RACE DRAMA COSTLY AT BATHURST

Craig Lowndes and Steve Richards took their #888 Red Bull Racing Commodore to a 10th-placed finish in the Bathurst 1000 today.

In a race punctuated by safety cars, drama and even a stoppage to repair a new racing surface which was breaking up, the hugely experienced Lowndes-Richards duo spent the first part of their race trying to extract speed from their Triple 8 prepared machine.

But as the race unfolded they moved forward, hitting the lead for the first time with 40 laps of the epic race to run.

However in the final 10 lap dash for the chequered flag, an altercation with rival Mark Winterbottom over second place had Craig serve a drive-through penalty, dropping him from contention.

"We had our highs and lows today," Craig Lowndes said.

"We had an issue early on with a cross-threaded nut but that wasn't so bad, losing us about 13 seconds. The car wasn't too fast at that stage but we were hoping that it would come to and it did.

"With all of the safety cars, our strategy, like everyone else, was all over the place and we decided to make a splash and dash at the end but there was a lot of sun glare and I made a mistake and tapped the back of Mark Winterbottom and got a drive through penalty for it.

"We move on from now, we know we have good car pace and we're encouraged by that."

Thursday

  • New Navy camouflage livery for the weekend
  • Craig optimistic for the race
  • Co-driver Steve Richards gets a session to himself
"It's been a good day. At first the car was a bit ugly, especially when the (new) track surface was green. We made lots of changes, chasing the car, but now it's pretty nice to drive, we've got it flowing well. My (quickest) lap was good but not great, so we can go quicker."

Friday
  • Richo 10th quickest in co-driver session
  • Craig just outside the 10 in final practice
  • Craig qualifies 10th fastest, makes the Saturday Top Ten Shootout
"It was the toughest top 10 result I've ever had to drive for.

"We're still searching for the right balance, the car is nice to drive but it's not speedy to drive yet. Everyone else stepped up their game by half a second today and we didn't, which shows that we have to take a good look at it overnight.

"The track conditions changed and we made a decision that didn't go the way we wanted it to, but we live to fight another day. We're confident that we can do a better job of it tomorrow but all in all, we're happy to be where we are, we've still got more in us."

Saturday
  • Craig's car heavily damaged in morning practice, innocent victim of competitor's brake failure
  • Brilliant job by Red Bull crew to repair #888 for Top Ten Shootout
  • Craig put together clean, fast Top Ten Shootout lap
  • #888 will start 6th tomorrow
"I'm delighted that we'll be starting on the third row of the grid tomorrow after the day we've had. It's a good omen for us to be in sixth position because I believe about 90 per cent of the time we start from there, we've gone on to win the race. I'm not superstitious but I'll take everything we've got at the moment.

"The team did an amazing job getting the car back after what happened and for them to work in the five hours we had to turn it around, was incredible to watch. There was a lot more in the car than I was willing to push for this afternoon (in the Shootout lap) but I just wanted to do a nice clean lap, which we did, and I'm happy that got us to sixth on the grid."

Sunday
  • Steve Richards starts race
  • Wheel issue costs time & positions at 1st pitstop
  • Early race speed deficit overcome with race-leading pace
  • Last gasp penalty drops Craig from lead fight to 10th
"Hard, hard day today the car wasn't good this morning but we tuned it up over the day, and it was great in the second half. We had the pace to win it but unfortunately I hit Frosty when he went off and I was blinded by the sun, and copped a drive through.
 


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