PHILLIP ISLAND, Victoria, Australia — official release — V8SC photo —
Craig Lowndes returned to his second favourite track with Mark Skaife’s winning record in his sights.
The Red Bull Racing Australia pilot then declared his intent at the Plus Fitness Phillip Island 400 was to steal second-place in the Championship from Mark Winterbottom.
Lowndes and his RBRA teammate Jamie Whincup put their Holden Commodores 1-2 in opening practice today as both look to seal their Championship fates across the weekend. Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin was third.
The veteran, whose Bathurst (5) and Phillip Island (9) records are amongst the most dominant in history, is confident he can better Skaife’s record at the circuit — with the two currently locked at nine apiece.
He has had some of his greatest races at the ‘Island’ and hopes for a tenth tomorrow despite last year seeing his Championship hopes go south in the closing rounds.
“Every year’s a different year,” Lowndes said. “We came into this weekend in a good position, it all sort of went south after that, but every year is a different year. Here this weekend our main priority is to get second in the Championship – for us that’s more realistic than winning a Championship this year.”
“I think Jamie’s pretty focused, he knows what he needs to do, so it’s just a matter of doing our own thing and making both of our own cars fast and speedy and when we start at the front, stay out of trouble and it’s all we can do.”