05 Mar AUTOBARN LOWNDES RACING DEBUTS
Autobarn Lowndes Racing had its inaugural outing at the Adelaide 500 on the weekend.
Craig’s 2018 program with Triple Eight, carrying Autobarn’s support and colours as naming rights sponsor for the first time, saw the new #888 Commodore home strongly in 9th on Saturday and, picking his way further forward, 7th on Sunday.
“It’s nice to come away from this weekend with good points in the championship and I’m looking forward to the rest of it and moving on to the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. I feel really comfortable in the car, it’s the first time in a long time I’ve finished the Adelaide 500 in the shape that I have. The car is very easy to drive, it’s a lot nicer to drive a car you don’t have to hustle or manage, this car is doing everything I want it to, we just need to start a bit closer to the front. We’ve learnt a lot coming out of this weekend.” Craig Lowndes said.
- 9th fastest in Practice 1
- 15th fastest in Practice 2
- Qualifies 15th for Race 1
“We had a really good practice one, we got our head around the car better than we have before. In practice two we did a race run just to simulate what the tyre life is going to be like, which again we got a great idea and direction of where we want to go tomorrow. Qualifying was disappointing, we made a change between the first and second run, which definitely improved the car, we were up on our fastest time ’til turn eight and we just had a little bit too much understeer and hit the outside wall. It’s not badly damaged but it was enough to put us out of the remainder of the qualifying session. We’ve ended up 15th but we believe the car would have been in the 10, so that is a much more positive step than where we were here last year. Good things to come and I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
- Overnight changes positive in morning warm up
- Strong run inside the top ten yields 9th
“Practice went really well (today). We had been disappointed in yesterday’s qualifying so we opted to keep chasing a qualifying setup this morning. I think that was really beneficial, we learned a lot and that carried over into the race. It definitely helped us with tyre life and so I’m very happy with where we ended up with the car after practice three. “We had our moments throughout the race (but) we tried to stay out of trouble for most of it, which we did. We are pleased to finish ninth after starting from 15th, the way the competition is, it’s really tight.”
- Craig qualifies 17th for Race 2
- Steady start in heavy traffic, moves forward
- Craig finishes Race 2 in 7th
“Qualifying was a little disappointing, we opted for a strategy of going on a mixed set and then greens and greens. Our first run on greens was okay, it gave us an idea of where the car was strong, where we needed to pick up. We waited like everyone else and went out with the field. We had a really good lap for three quarters of it but unfortunately locked up a front right going into the last corner and lost a heap of time. I think we went from about seventh to 17th. For us we have to make sure we nail the qualifying, we know the car was good enough to be in the top 10 but starting 17th was always going to be a tough day. The guys did a fantastic job throughout the race, the strategy was clean, we opted to do the same strategy as yesterday which was to run long and try and split it up evenly to use the tyre as much as we could. We had a great battle with James Courtney at the end, I just couldn’t find a way around him. He drove a very straight car, I had to wait for an opportunity which he didn’t present. I won’t be too disappointed from finishing seventh, we know we’ve got good promise in the car.”