Malcolm Flynn | Aug 6, 2012

Craig Lowndes has now won five consecutive races at Queensland Raceway, after taking out both races 16 and 17 of the 2012 V8 Supercar championship at the weekend.

The results also extend Team Vodafone’s current winning streak to six races, with a total of eight race wins so far this year.

Lowndes started from pole in the Saturday race despite needing an engine change after practice.

Second qualifier Jamie Whincup soon dropped to eighth position following clutch trouble from the start.

Lowndes and eventual second-placed Mark Winterbottom elected to refrain from pitting after the race’s only safety car period on Lap 2, enabling them to complete the 45 lap race with just one pit stop.

Current championship leader Whincup was not so fortunate, with his early pit stop locking him into a two-stop strategy which pushed him back further to 18th position.

Whincup made an impressive comeback to finish third, ahead of the nine other drivers who used the two-stop strategy.

Fabian Coulthard and Russell Ingall benefitted from one-stop strategies with fourth and fifth placings, ahead of Will Davison who rued the decision to pit early.

Ford Performance Racing drivers Will Davison and Mark Winterbottom looked set to fight back after qualifying first and second for the Sunday race, but Lowndes managed to climb from fourth to first by Lap 6.

Davison lost first position to Winterbottom at the first corner, eventually holding onto fourth position after a race-long struggle with car balance.

Both Team Vodafone and FPR avoided ‘stacking’ during pitstops by staggering their Sunday drivers’ stops one lap apart, with each team choosing matching two-stop strategies.

Stone Brothers Racing driver Lee Holdsworth made a lucky escape ten laps before the finish, after his Irwin Tools Falcon caught fire after a sticking throttle dumped unburnt fuel down a hot exhaust as he parked in pit lane.

Despite the Holdsworth fire incident, the second race was free of safety car periods, enabling a storming Lowndes to lap all cars up to 15th, before once again leading Winterbottom and Whincup to the chequered flag.

Whincup’s two third placings sees his championship lead over Winterbottom narrow to just 82 points, while Davison has fallen to 94 points behind his teammate.

Despite Lowndes’ double race win, he remains fourth in the championship, still 256 points behind Whincup, but now just 80 points behind Davison.

The 2012 V8 Supercars Championship will continue at the newly renamed Sydney Motorsport Park in three weeks.

Top Ten V8 Supercar Championship Series Race 17 Results - Coates Hire Ipswich 300

1: Craig Lowndes
2: Mark Winterbottom
3: Jamie Whincup
4: Will Davison
5: Fabian Coulthard
6: Russell Ingall
7: Shane Van Gisbergen
8: Tim Slade
9: Michael Caruso
10: Steve Owen

Top Ten V8 Supercar Championship Points Standings

1: Jamie Whincup, 2052 pts.
2: Mark Winterbottom, 1970 pts.
3: Will Davison, 1876 pts.
4: Craig Lowndes, 1796 pts.
5: Shane Van Gisbergen, 1472 pts.
6: Tim Slade, 1344 pts.
7: Garth Tander, 1323 pts.
8: Fabian Coulthard, 1261 pts.
9: Lee Holdsworth, 1217 pts.
10: David Reynolds, 1017 pts.