Lowndes, Whincup win Bathurst thriller - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lowndes, Whincup win Bathurst thriller

By Cameron Tomarchio 07/10/2007 11:33:03 PM Comments (0)

Ford's Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup won one of the classic Bathurst 1000 races on Sunday, overcoming massive drama to go back-to-back at Mount Panorama.

On a great day for Ford, Falcons occupied all three spots on the podium.

James Courtney and David Besnard avoided the bedlam for second, and Steven Johnson and Will Davison almost won the race before settling for third.

For all four guys in second and third, Sunday was a career-best finish on the mountain.

"It's a great moment," said Davison.

Holden fancies Rick Kelly and Garth Tander did not finish, nor did Holden Racing Team's Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly.

To rub it in, Whincup moved into the championship lead, with Lowndes second, dropping Rick Kelly and Tander to third and fourth with four rounds to go.

"This one for me is much bigger. I understand what Bathurst is about. Last year I didn't know what was going on," said Whincup, comparing this win to 2006 where emotion was high because of the passing of legend Peter Brock.

But it could so easily have been the worst moment of Whincup's career.

Ford Performance Racing's Steven Richards had broken Mark Skaife's 2005 lap record by less than a tenth of a second with a 2min 08.5580sec scorcher as he and Whincup battled valiantly for top spot, before Whincup upstaged the 35-year-old with a 2:08.4651.

But on lap 134 of 161, Whincup shocked the massive crowd by losing control entering the pits, costing Triple Eight crucial seconds.

"It was a race in the pits and I knew we had to have a quick one, but I just pushed it too hard," said Whincup, 24.

Lowndes recovered, but then Johnson pressured to sneak in front on lap 154, before Lowndes went back in front a lap later in an immense finish to a great race.

"I was just concentrating on Steven's lines ... and he ran a little wide going into turn one and I managed to get inside of him, we made contact," said Lowndes, who battled greasy, wet conditions in the closing stages in a highly impressive drive.

"From then on in we just had to knuckle down - every lap was a whole new experience."

FPR were in control until Mark Winterbottom speared off at The Chase with 13 laps to go, gifting Triple Eight the lead.

Winterbottom and Richards ended the race in tenth position.

Skaife and Kelly's day ended amongst the late drama when rain fell when they hit the wall.

It was Lowndes' third title, having also won 11 years ago in a Holden with Greg Murphy.

For 24-year-old Winterbottom, this was his second triumph and yet another milestone in an increasingly impressive career.

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