Lowndes pays respect to Brock with win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lowndes pays respect to Brock with win

By Todd Balym 08/10/2006 08:46:43 PM Comments (0)

Craig Lowndes' tears of sadness turned to tears of joy as he and Jamie Whincup claimed the inaugural Peter Brock Trophy at an emotion-packed Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama.

The event ended on a sombre note with the news Gold Coast driver Mark Porter had died in Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on Sunday with extensive injuries following his horrific crash on Friday.

The death added further emotion to a day that had delivered a roller coaster of experiences as the tributes continued to flow for Brock.

Lowndes cried after driving Brock's 1972 Bathurst winning Torana in the King of the Mountain's tribute service in the morning as the finality of the loss of his hero, racing legend Peter Perfect, hit home.

His emotion so visible that Betta Electrical team principle Roland Dane wanted to relieve Lowndes of his immediate racing duties and get Whincup to start.

"Roland asked me whether I wanted to swap and put Jamie in for the start but I said no, he was worried about my state of mind," said Lowndes.

"It was very emotional for me ... but I put my head down and carried on." Seven hours later he was shedding tears of joy as he and Whincup stormed to an amazing victory in a dramatic race which ended Ford's seven-year title drought at Mount Panorama.

Holden brothers Rick and Todd Kelly finished second while the master and apprentice Ford pairing of Glenn Seton and James Courtney secured the last spot on the podium in third.

It was just the second Bathurst win in Lowndes's illustrious motoring career, the victory coming a decade after his 1996 win with Holden. He said it was his greatest moment in motor sport and the day would remain as such for the rest of his career.

"In many respects I think this weekend will hold as the number one result for me," said Lowndes.

"To come to Bathurst and not only win after 10 years, which is too long, but to win on the same year (as Brock's death) is very special and a momentous weekend.

"The best way for me to show respect was to put my name on that trophy." Victory didn't come easy for Lowndes and Whincup.

They survived an eventful race with 10 safety car periods and only 17 of 31 cars crossing the finish line.

Pre-race favourite Mark Skaife crashed on the opening lap while Ford standout Jason Bright retired with engine dramas after 28 laps.

The last safety car period with 10 laps remaining, for Jason Richards arrowing off the circuit into the sand, ensured a grandstand finish as it reduced Lowndes's lead over Rick Kelly from six seconds to nothing.

But Lowndes held strong in the seven lap dash to the line, producing the quickest lap of the day on number 158 to edge home by just over half a second.

"I don't think I could have given it anymore at the end there," said Rick Kelly.

"The old girl was scraping the walls in some places trying to catch Craig but I just could not do it. I couldn't get close enough to have a go.

"This is as good as losing gets." Lowndes paid tribute to his "whiz kid" co-driver Whincup, who handed him the lead on their final driver change at lap 133 after he had overtaken Todd Kelly.

It was Whincup's maiden Bathurst win, 12 months after he burst onto the scene with a runner-up place in a Holden last year.

"It means everything to me, it's why I compete and why I drive cars, this is our grand final," said Whincup.

Courtney's third place was a remarkable result for the V8 rookie, especially his incredible double stint to finish in which he braved hand cramps to hold off series champion Russell Ingall by 0.056secs for the last spot on the podium.

It is Courtney's first-ever podium result in his second race at Mount Panorama after he crashed on debut last year.

For Seton, it's another case of close but no cigar as the third place is added to his three runner up results from 23 Bathurst starts.

"I thought it would have been courteous of them if they would have pulled over and let us through," said 42-year-old Seton.

While it was the best moment of Lowndes's career it was the lowest for Holden champ Skaife who crashed out after less than 30 seconds of racing.

He was smashed from behind by Jack Perkins on the climb up the mountain, but later conceded a slipping clutch had already ended his day.

"It's the most disappointing thing to ever happen in my career," said Skaife.

"I don't think I have ever wanted to win a race so badly in my life."

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