Lown­des raises veil on fourth V8s vic­tory am­bi­tion

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - PAUL GOVER

SEC­OND place is not good enough for Craig Lown­des as he looks to fi­nally toss off the brides­maid’s dress for a long- over­due fourth V8 Su­per­cars cham­pi­onship vic­tory.

Lown­des might have this year be­come the first tour­ing car racer to claim 100 vic­to­ries but that’s not enough af­ter seven years in the dark shadow of Jamie Whin­cup, his team­mate at Red Bull Rac­ing.

He’s sit­ting sec­ond in the se­ries – again – but look­ing for some­thing spe­cial when he rolls on to Queens­land Race­way on Fri­day morn­ing for his home­town race.

Lown­des has been a proven win­ner this year and is look­ing to close the gap on cham­pi­onship leader Mark Win­ter­bot­tom be­fore the hard graft of the twodriver en­duro races.

“I’ve been the brides­maid that many times,” Lown­des joked. “We’re in there with a shot. We’ve got to lift our act and start win­ning races, like we were at the start of the year.

“There’s def­i­nitely good­ness in the car, to be fast. It’s a mat­ter of ex­tract­ing it out of it.”

“We def­i­nitely need to start beat­ing Frosty to have a chance at the ti­tle. But we’re def­i­nitely com­ing into some cir­cuits that I en­joy.”

There is more hang­ing on the 2015 cham­pi­onship than most peo­ple know, be­cause Lown­des is go­ing to be eased out of the main game at Red Bull Rac­ing in 2016 into a one- car satel­lite team. It’s part of his even­tual tran­si­tion to re­tire­ment, with Shane van Gis­ber- gen be­ing pro­moted to the car along­side Whin­cup.

“This year we have def­i­nitely put our­selves in a good place,” is the only con­ces­sion from Lown­des on the com­ing team changes.

But he also knows that, as he runs sec­ond and Whin­cup is only eighth, he needs to cap­i­talise on his ad­van­tage at RBR and bridge the gap to the Fal­cons com­man­deered by Win­ter­bot­tom, Chas Mostert and David Reynolds.

“We’re in sec­ond be­cause of con­sis­tency and a bit of luck,” Lown­des says.

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