Bathurst: Lowndes takes sixth title
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Yet again the annual Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercars race provided some of the best tin top racing you'll find on the planet.
Last year it was all about the young guns making their way in the category, and in 2015 it was all about experience and planning.
Red Bull Racing Australia's veteran paring of Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards played the long game and crossed the line ahead of series leader Mark Winterbottom (with Steve Owen) and a resurgent Garth Tander and Warren Luff.
Lowndes now has six Bathurst titles to his name and Richards four making them one of the most successful pairings in the history of Mount Panorama with 10 wins between them.
"Red Bull Racing gave us a hell of a car and this man here [Richards] has been sensational," said Lowndes on Sky Sport.
"I was told that if I ended up on the podium I would hold the all time record , but I wanted be on the top step.
"We had a great battle and it's a bit of shame with what happened with Jaime [Whincup] but we had the car to do the business and it was a rocket towards the end.
"It's been a long week and I'm look forward to celebrating the win."
Three of the Kiwi drivers were in hunt for line honours all afternoon but just couldn't find that extra pace to challenge for a podium finish. Fabian Coulthard (with Luke Youlden) had his best Bathurst finish crossing the line in fourth less than a second behind Tander, and Scott McLaughlin was right there back in fifth.
Shane van Gisbergen looked racey all day, especially so when the rain arrived mid-race, but couldn't quite get up with the leaders to challenge in the closing stanza of the race.
Winterbottom and Richards' second place finish reiterated that you should never-say-never, and keep going to the bitter end.
Their #5 Ford was black flagged for not having working brake lights at the halfway stage of the race. By the time the electrical faults were repaired, and after being hit with a further 15-second penalty for ignoring a mechanical black flag, the team had dropped to 22nd.
When the rain hit an hour later and then started to abate, it was Winterbottom who chose to bolt slicks on first. His roll of the dice paid off and within half an hour had moved up to fifth and the rest is history.
The other story of the 2015 Bathurst though, other than Chaz Mostert's monster crash in qualifying, has to be Jamie Whincup's penalty with 20 laps to go while in second place.
For the second year in row Whincup rolled the dice and made a driver's decision. Last year he thought he could make it to the end without a last minute pit for fuel, but ran out while leading on the last lap.
This year he decided he could pass the safety car with just 20 laps to go, but got pinged with a drive through penalty that dropped him to 18th at the chequered flag, after a number of off-track excursions.
While Whincup was serving his penalty, Craig Lowndes took advantage of the battling cars behind him to jump out to a near five-second lead with a handful of laps to go.
Behind the fast disappearing Lowndes, Tander was barging his way through Kiwis Coulthard and McLaughlin to chase down Mark Winterbottom who was holding down second at the time.
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