Six of the best for Bathurst winner Lowndes
Almost two decades after his first victory at Bathurst, Craig Lowndes has saluted for the sixth time, holding off V8 Supercars championship leader Mark Winterbottom in another dramatic day at Mount Panorama.
The win gave Lowndes a record 13 podiums at Bathurst and moved him into equal third on the all-time winners' list alongside Mark Skaife and Larry Perkins. He now trails only the late Peter Brock (nine) and Jim Richards (seven).
The victory was also the fourth for co-driver Steven Richards (Jim's son).
Lowndes, who scored win No.100 in the V8 Supercars series in Darwin earlier this year, said the result made up for the disappointment of last year when he finished a distant 10th.
"It's quite amazing. I think as the day went on, the car got better, and Richo did a fantastic job," said Lowndes, who also wished last year's winner, Chaz Mostert, all the best after a spectacular crash in qualifying on Friday saw the 23-year-old watch the race from his hospital bed after breaking his leg and wrist.
"I had to make amends for last year.
"I've got to thank the boys. All the guys at Red Bull Racing.
"They've given us a car and this man here (Richards) has been sensational. It's been a wonderful year."
The crucial point in the race came with 21 laps to go when David Reynolds led from Winterbottom, Lowndes and his Red Bull teammate Jamie Whincup.
But the safety car was called when Scott Pye slammed into the wall, with Reynolds, Winterbottom and Lowndes all heading straight to the pits to refuel. Whincup inexplicably elected to stay on the track.
Lowndes came out of the pit lane the quickest, and the new order saw him assume the lead from Whincup with Winterbottom and Reynolds next in line.
But a review revealed Whincup had passed the safety car when he stayed on the track, leaving officials with no option to impose a drive-through penalty, relegating him from second to last.
That infuriated Red Bull Racing team boss Roland Dane who made it clear Whincup had defied team orders by staying out on the track and not pitting with the other leaders following Pye's crash.
The six-time V8 Supercars champion eventually came in 18th, putting an end to his chances of defending the title.
Meanwhile, the all-female crew of Simona de Silvestro and Renee Gracie had an eventful day.
Gracie blamed oil on the track after crashing into the wall on lap 16.
The car was eventually repaired and the girls managed to complete 121 laps of the 161-lap race.