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LOWNDES CONSOLIDATES IN NEW ZEALAND

The New Zealand round of the 2013 V8 Supercar Championship proved to be an up and down affair for Craig Lowndes, with a highlight being a third place finish in race six of the series.

Working through set-up changes over the course of the weekend, Lowndes had to overcome some relatively low grid positions in three of the four heats.

Despite a general lack of grip hampering progress, Lowndes consolidated his points position over the event, elevating himself to third in the standings after nine races.

"It was a tricky weekend," said Lowndes.

"We're still working hard on developing this new package, and in these sprint races, qualifying is critical.

"There's some very promising signs there, and it's pleasing to come away from the weekend with a good haul of points."

FRIDAY

  • Fine weather for all three days of on track action
  • Ran on old tyres in the first three practice sessions, before utilising a new set for the fourth and final session
  • Lowndes finished seventh, 17th, 16th and fourth in the respective practices
"The car's actually working really well," said Lowndes.

"It was a little bit frustrating in the middle section just using one set of tyres. As the tyre was degrading, it was hard to get a read on the car and I got probably a little bit lost and frustrated just because I didn't know where the car was at.

"When we put on our second set of tyres and had a good crack at it, the car balance came back to us, the car flowed really nice, we made an improvement at the second run and it became a nicer car to drive.

"We didn't get the maximum out of the car but from where we started this morning I'm really happy and looking forward to tomorrow."

SATURDAY
  • From the two qualifying sessions, Lowndes set the sixth and second best times
  • A brake lock-up on his top-ten shootout lap saw Lowndes relegated to eighth on the grid for race six, after penalties were applied to other drivers
  • Charged through the pack in race six, finishing third
  • An off-track moment at the new chicane in race six saw Lowndes drop from second position to eventually finish in 16th
"The good news is the car is much better on the hard tyre for us with the way we set the car up and to come from eighth to third in the first race was incredible," Lowndes said.

"We made a lot of improvement on last week in race one and other than a little error in race two I came in too deep on the brakes at five and just got the grass edge- the car was quick. It just lacked a little bit of rear grip again, so we'll talk to Jeromy (Moore - engineer).

"Looking at what we were racing around though, I think we had a very good car and setup. I'm much happier than last week and luckily we've got two more races tomorrow."

SUNDAY
  • The twin qualifying sessions saw Lowndes set the ninth and tenth best times
  • Steered clear of drama to charge through to finish fourth in the first Sunday race
  • Struggled with a lap of grip in the final heat, settling for ninth at the chequered flag
"I need to obviously clean up my qualifying results," said Lowndes.

"Unfortunately, I got caught in traffic today, but as a race car I think we've definitely come a step forward over the course of the weekend. It's a balance issue and getting the right mix for grip. The car was a lot nicer to drive.

"We're still needing something but in the end the performance of the car is definitely a lot more confidence-inspiring. We've got three weeks now to get back to the workshop and make some improvements"

Championship Point Standings after 9 Races
1. Will Davison 697 points
2. Jamie Whincup 666
3. Craig Lowndes 591
4. Garth Tander 553
5. Fabian Coulthard 552
6. Jason Bright 539
7. Shane Van Gisbergen 532
8. James Courtney 510
9. Jonathon Webb 477
10. Scott McLaughlin 457


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