Ford does it again!!!October 13, 2008
Ford flyers Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup became the first men in 24 years to win a hat-trick of Bathurst 1000 titles with a near-flawless drive at Mount Panorama yesterday (12th October 2008).
The Triple Eight Racing duo equalled the all-time record for successive triumphs, joining motorsport legends Peter Brock, Jim Richards and Larry Perkins on three.
“This is amazing,” Whincup said.
“How good was Lowndesy in that last stint. He just nails it every time. He’s unbelievable.
“I’m not a greedy person but I’ll take it every time.”
New Zealand pairing Greg Murphy and Jason Richards pulled off an incredible second spot with Murphy passing the Ford of Steven Richards with just a handful of laps remaining.
Richards and Mark Winterbottom slipped another spot to fourth moments later as the Ford of James Courtney and David Besnard snuck through for a place on the podium.
Murphy and Richards, who had struggled in the V8 Supercar championship all year, formed the best Holden team for the second year in a row following their fourth place a year ago.
There was an element of controversy about the victory with Murphy claiming Lowndes should have been penalised for bumping him on the opening lap.
Lowndes appeared to veer into the side of Murphy and the four-time Bathurst champion battled steering problems as a result.
“He’s got away with knocking us up,” said Murphy.
Aside from that and a heap of safety car interventions late on, it was plain sailing for the champions, taking the lead from early pacesetters Stone Brothers Racing after the first pit stop on lap 34 and never looking back in their bid to enter the history books.
Lowndes, 34, also moved to equal fifth on the all-time list with four Bathurst wins, behind Brock (9), Richards (7), Perkins (6) and modern rival Mark Skaife (5).Five-time winner Skaife and his V8 Supercar champion teammate Garth Tander had a horror day for the Holden Racing Team.
Tander got off to a disastrous start when the clutch slipped, leaving him stranded on the starting line as he dropped from pole position to last by the first corner.
To make matters worse, Tander was given a 10 second penalty for jumping the start as the car propped forward in the chaos.
“I got a penalty for apparently getting too good a start – I was last into the first corner!” Tander said.
The day would not get any better for Holden’s flagship outfit as on lap 102 of 161 Skaife hit the wall trying to fend off Lowndes, who was attempting to lap him.
Skaife hit the wall again a few laps later as he battled steering problems and the pair finished 12th in the end.
Brock achieved the Bathurst hat-trick twice, first with Jim Richards from 1978-80 and then again from 1982-84 with Perkins.