In what was an action packed Bathurst 1000 race for 2010, Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife lead TeamVodafone to a record-making win at yesterday’s great race.
Lowndes provided an epic stint at the wheel of the Holden for an incredible 79-laps of the iconic 6.2km Mt Panorama circuit on Sunday to secure his fifth Bathurst crown and Skaife’s sixth.
It got even better for Team Vodafone with the No.1 car of Jamie Whincup and Steve Owen crossing the line second in the first one-two finish at Bathurst since 1984.
“It’s a dream come true really for us,” Lowndes told the press after the pair finally cracked the title they couldn’t win as teammates at Holden Racing Team a decade ago.
“Not to be able to do it back then and come so close, so many times, and then to have a 10-year break and to get the old band back together – it’s pretty special,” Lowndes said.
Skaife, who has only returned to the sport as a co-driver for endurance races after retiring from the main game in 2008, said the victory was as sweet as any of his other triumphs at the track and he paid full tribute to Lowndes for his unbroken 489km effort.
Lowndes made a new record in the process crossing the line with a fastest race time of six hours 12mins 51secs following the 161-lap great race that was slowed by four safety car periods.
The previous record was held by Jim Richards and Mark Skaife when they won in six hrs 19 min 14.8s in the Nissan GT-R in 1991.Skaife has now taken his record at Mount Panorama to a mighty six wins and stands equal with Larry Perkins and one short of Jim Richards to sit third on the list of most wins behind the legendary Peter Brock (nine wins).
It was also the fifth time that Craig Lowndes has clapped his hands on the trophy, which is now named in honour of Brock.
TeamVodafone executed its plan to start Skaife in the race when it was known that conditions were dry. Skaife smartly stayed just off the pace behind leader Lee Holdsworth until lap 24 when he came in and handed it over to Lowndes who did 24 laps before it was Skaife’s turn again.
Lowndes then completed the last 79 laps of the race in a demonstration of tremendous concentration and staying power at one of the most demanding racetracks in the world.