09 Jul CRAIG BACKS UP ‘RETIREMENT’ ANNOUNCEMENT WITH STRONG WEEKEND IN TOWNSVILLE
Amid the chaos created by Craig Lowndes’ unexpected announcement that he was retiring from full-time Supercar Championship competition at the end of this season, he had a strong weekend in Townsville.
Putting aside the tributes and plaudits for his spectacular career, Craig raced to fourth place in Saturday’s race 17 of the 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, on the street and parkland track of the northern Queensland city.
Craig backed that up on Sunday in race 18, with another storming drive to fourth place after a very competitive run.
“It’s very positive having two fourths this weekend after the announcement on Friday.
“We roll on now to Queensland Raceway, which is obviously our test track and we’re looking forward to it, we’ve got a great record there. We’ll see what we can do, we’re still sitting well placed in the championship, we’ve just got to keep pushing on until the end of the year,” Craig Lowndes said.
- Craig third fastest in Practice 1
- Craig 15th fastest in Practice 2
“It’s been a big day. It’s great to get the announcement out about my retirement from full-time driving and we’ve been focusing on the race car since then. Today we’ve had two practice sessions. The first one went really well, but the second one, we just didn’t quite maximise the green tyre at the end, but it wasn’t that bad. The timed lap was really messy on my behalf, so we know there’s a lot more in it. I think we lost a good three tenths, so we should have been somewhere around sixth or seventh. I’m really happy though, the car rides the kerbs well and does everything else well. It’s been a very positive day, we learnt a lot and we’re looking forward to tomorrow now and getting on track for qualifying. We need to be up in the top 10 to be in with a good result, which is what we’re focusing on.”
- Craig qualifies 5th for Race 17
- Craig finishes 4th in Race 17
“We had a great race! We had a good start, there was a little jostling around at the beginning, but our stops and our strategy were great. Our speed was really good, it’s a credit to the team that we got the tyre life working well too. We had a great battle there from the middle of the race to the end of the race with both Shane (van Gisbergen) and Scotty (McLaughlin), but we managed to hold off Fabian (Coulthard) right at the end to finish fourth. The safety car definitely made it exciting, that’s for sure!”
- Craig qualifies 6th for Race 18
- Craig finishes 4th in Race 18
“Our car pace was good (today), good enough to be on the podium. We had another great battle with Scotty (McLaughlin) in the closing stages of the race. I just didn’t have quite enough to get by him. I think if we’d had track position we would have been alright. We started sixth today and we ended up fourth, so we moved forward both days, so credit to the team.”