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LOWNDES WINS BATHURST 12 HOUR

Craig Lowndes has started 2014 with a bang, driving the Maranello Motorsport 458 Ferrari to victory in the Bathurst 12 Hour on the weekend.

Craig stamped his authority as a legend of Mount Panorama, teaming up with former Formula One racer Mika Salo, touring car legend John Bowe and Australian GT frontrunner Peter Edwards to score the spectacular result for Maranello Motorsport.

FRIDAY

All four drivers got laps behind the wheel of the Maranello Motorsport-prepared Ferrari 458. The team worked on finding the right combination for the weekend's race, finishing the day with a competitive time on the board.

  • #88 Ferrari finishes P3 in final practice session with Mika Salo behind the wheel
  • Craig happy in the car with limited laps behind the wheel.
"It was great to have my first laps around Bathurst in the Ferrari," Craig explained.

"With four drivers, laps are pretty limited but we were chasing a few setup issues over the day and really made some progress with the car."

"JJ [Triple Eight engineer, Jeromy Moore] is doing a great job with the team. He's slotted right in and got straight down to work. He's just making the car better and better."

SATURDAY

With the huge 12 Hour field all out to set a fastest lap for qualifying, clean air on track was at a premium. Maranello capitalised on the cooler conditions of the early session to set a cracking lap time, almost a second clear of the field.
  • Mika Salo sets fastest lap opening qualifying with a record-breaking 2:03.9421.
  • Craig, John Bowe and Peter Edwards got time in the car over the next two sessions.
  • Erebus set fastest lap in dying stages of final qualifying session to score pole position ahead of Maranello.
"Traffic on track, as well as the huge differences in speed across the field, are making it very difficult for everyone to get some clear laps"

"We're still starting on the front row tomorrow which is great for the whole team. We didn't go for a lap in the final session because we didn't think we needed to. That session was all about getting more information."

"We didn't even put a new set of tyres on, we just went out to do some more laps to understand the car better."

"And the car feels great. It just keeps getting better and better."

SUNDAY

After going a lap down through the middle part of the race, Craig and Mika took on long stints in the latter half of the race to bring the #88 Ferrari back to the front of the field. After fighting hard to take the lead late in the race, the team's strategy looked set to come undone when a safety car was called with 15 minutes left in the race, destroying the gap Craig had over the field. But the five time Bathurst 1000 champion was able to hold off the charging competition, taking the win by just half a second.

  • Starting from the front of the grid, the #88 team ran close to the front of the field all day.
  • Mika Salo had a late double stint before handing the car to Craig for the final stint of the race.
  • The team's strategy played out almost perfectly, leaving Craig with a good gap over the field into the final 30 minutes.
  • Craig holds on for his first Bathurst 12 Hour victory after a late safety car bunches the field in the final 10 minutes.
"We had about 30 minutes left in the race and we had a good gap over the next car but then a safety car came out and diminished all of that."
"I knew the Mercedes had really great straight line speed and I had to work really hard to make the most of every bit of track I had. I'm just very thankful the time ran out and we didn't have to go around again!"

"This is my fourth year in the 12 hour so it's nice to come back with Maranello and these drivers and finally taste success."
 


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