TEAMVODAFONE BREAK THEIR PHILLIP ISLAND HOODOO
They haven't raced together in a decade but TeamVodafone's legendary pairing of Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife have taken out the first of the 2010 endurance rounds, claiming victory at today's L&H 500 at Phillip Island.
The pair drove brilliantly together showing good pace and an alternative strategy. Pitting earlier than the TeamVodafone Commodore of Jamie Whincup and Steve Owen proved to be a winning combination.
This victory marks Lowndes's 75th career win and Skaife's 88th and they also recorded the fastest lap of the day with a time of 1:34.8014.
An ecstatic Craig Lowndes said it was great to finally get the top step after coming so close over the past two years.
"The whole team is delighted with the result. Both cars ran strong all weekend and when we got our last stop out of the way, Car # 888 was working really well," he explained.
"When you have a gap of six seconds, you can really look after the car. On the last lap I was just making sure we got to the finish line as fuel was tight. If you remember 12 months ago, we were robbed on the last lap, so I had to make sure it didn't happen again.
"Today was sensational. Mark was always going to start the race and it was good to see him get away with a clean position. After re-fuelling, it was a crucial time in the car for Mark and he did a fantastic job," Lowndes continued.
Semi-retired Skaife was thrilled with today's performance and has continued his good form at Phillip Island, winning two out of three of his last encounters at the Island.
"I was more nervous than I've probably ever been," Skaife admitted. "In those last couple of laps you're just not sure what's going to happen. I had the ultimate faith in Craig being able to do the job and he drove fantastically."
"We've had a lot of fun since we announced we were going to pair up. The whole thing couldn't have been better. It's definitely a fairytale for me for sure."
Whincup and Owen came very close to achieving a team 1-2, but a broken splitter mount caused a vibration to the engine oil cooler and Car #1 was forced to pit on lap 95. They lost nine laps in the pits and finished in 29th position.
Whincup was philosophical at the end of the day after coming so close to the team's first enduro 1-2.
"It's better that we learn about the splitter issue now rather than ten laps from the finish at Bathurst," Whincup lamented.
"The car feels sensational, Steve did a sterling job this weekend and the team takes good confidence heading towards the Grand Final of motor sport in Australia."
Teammate Steve Owen said, "We had a great start and it was all going to plan with us leading for the majority of the race but unfortunately replacing the oil cooler caused us to lose too many laps. We're not totally disappointed though as the car was quick and it gives us great confidence for Bathurst."
TeamVodafone will be back on track for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama on the 7-10 October. Until then, stay tuned to the TeamVodafone official websitewww.teamvodafone.com.au and the teams Facebook and Twitter for updates.
Top Ten V8 Supercar Championship Series Race 17 Results L&H 500
1. Craig Lowndes/ Mark Skaife, 200pts
2. Mark Winterbottom/ Luke Youlden, 184pts
3. Jason Richards/ Andrew Jones, 172pts
4. Rick Kelly/ Owen Kelly, 160pts
5. Jack Perkins/ Tim Slade, 148pts
6. Jonathon Webb/ David Russell, 136pts
7. Paul Dumbrell/ Dean Canto, 128pts
8. Russell Ingall/ Paul Morris, 120pts
9. Cameron McConville/ Garth Tander, 112pts
10. Alex Davison, 104pts
Top Ten V8 Supercar Championship Standings After Race 17 of 26
1. James Courtney, 2101pts
2. Jamie Whincup, 1922pts
3. Mark Winterbottom, 1862pts
4. Craig Lowndes, 1739pts
5. Shane van Gisbergen, 1689pts
6. Garth Tander, 1680pts
7. Rick Kelly, 1574pts
8. Lee Holdsworth, 1439pts
9. Michael Caruso, 1358pts
10. Paul Dumbrell, 1314pts