Craig Lowndes extends Ipswich streak in Race 16
05 Aug 2012
By Stefan Bartholoeus
Craig Lowndes has recorded his fourth consecutive victory at Queensland Raceway by taking out Race 16 of the 2012 V8 Supercars Championship at the Coates Hire Ipswich 300.
Pole-sitter Lowndes led home Mark Winterbottom by 1.7s at the end of a 45 lap encounter defined by an early Safety Car intervention.
While Lowndes and Winterbottom followed a conventional strategy by switching from the hard to the soft compound together on Lap 20, 10 drivers elected to pit for the stickier rubber as soon as the yellows flew on the second lap Ė locking them into two-stop schedules.
Having dropped from second to eighth with a clutch problem off the start, eventual third place finisher Whincup was among those to take the two-stop gamble. Restarting 18th, the TeamVodafone driver fought through the hard tyre runners ahead of him in his second stint, climbing to third before the midrace stops began.
The final 20 lap stint to the flag proved to be a high speed procession, with neither Winterbottom nor Whincup able to challenge the dominant Lowndes.
Filling fourth and fifth respectively at the completion of the race were Fabian Coulthard and Russell Ingall, while Will Davison was the second best of the two-stoppers in sixth.
The one-stopping Shane van Gisbergen, Michael Caruso, Tim Slade (who struggled to the finish with a sticking throttle) and Steven Johnson rounded out the top 10.
The raceís one and only Safety Car proved somewhat unnecessary, with the cars of Michael Caruso and David Reynolds rejoining from simultaneous Turn 1 spins under their own steam as Race Control made the call. While Caruso was able to salvage a top 10 result, Reynolds ended the race 22nd.
Others to endure difficult days were Lee Holdsworth (who lost a lap while his crew tightened a rear brake nipple early in the going), Garth Tander (who pitted for a new steering arm on Lap 2), and Jonathon Webb (who was the raceís only DNF after suffering engine problems).
Jason Bright also had a tale of woe to tell after being spun out of 14th place with just five laps remaining. Todd Kelly had tapped the rear of the Team BOC Commodore heading into Turn 6, and received a 25 point post-race penalty for his actions.
Jacques Villeneuve fought hard towards the rear of the field, eventually finishing 23rd after a late-race spin while battling with Taz Douglas. Douglas had been the only driver to start on the soft tyres and finished 22nd.
The results see Winterbottom trim Whincupís championship margin to 91 points, with Davison and Lowndes continuing to round out the top five.
A 200km race will complete the Coates Hire Ipswich 300 tomorrow.
See below for the full Race 16 results
1 TeamVodafone Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VE2 45 54:57.5057
2 Orrcon Steel FPR Ford Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 45 54:59.2252
3 TeamVodafone Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VE2 45 55:06.8865
4 Lockwood Racing Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VE2 45 55:09.2682
5 Supercheap Auto Racing Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE2 45 55:14.2466
6 Trading Post FPR Ford Will Davison Ford Falcon FG 45 55:14.7631
7 SP Tools Racing Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG 45 55:25.6607
8 Fujitsu Racing GRM Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE2 45 55:30.8467
9 Lucky 7 Racing Tim Slade Ford Falcon FG 45 55:35.1069
10 Jim Beam Racing Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG 45 55:35.1530
11 Jim Beam Racing Dean Fiore Ford Falcon FG 45 55:36.2806
12 Jack Danielís Racing Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE2 45 55:36.6941
13 Jack Danielís Racing Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE2 45 55:40.7399
14 Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing Karl Reindler Holden Commodore VE2 45 55:41.1311
15 Holden Racing Team James Courtney Holden Commodore VE2 45 55:43.0233
16 VIP Petfoods Steve Owen Ford Falcon FG 45 55:44.9889
17 Tekno Autosports Michael Patrizi Holden Commodore VE2 45 55:51.4289
18 Team Norton DJR James Moffat Ford Falcon FG 45 55:53.6458
19 Fujitsu Racing GRM Alexandre Premat Holden Commodore VE2 45 55:55.2885
20 Team BOC Jason Bright Holden Commodore VE2 45 55:56.1336
21 Wilson Security Racing David Wall Holden Commodore VE2 45 55:57.1695
22 The Bottle-O Racing Team David Reynolds Ford Falcon FG 45 56:01.9970
23 Team iSelect Taz Douglas Holden Commodore VE2 44 55:05.0765
24 Pepsi Max Crew Jaques Villeneuve Holden Commodore VE2 44 55:06.5981
25 Team Hiflex Tony DíAlberto Ford Falcon FG 44 55:12.8806
26 Irwin Racing Lee Holdsworth Ford Falcon FG 44 55:46.9124
27 Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE2 40 55:51.8866
DNF Tekno Autosports Jonathon Webb Holden Commodore VE2 35 43:56.4285