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Craig’s top 10 career races

Craig Lowndes celebrated a milestone birthday late last week, so what better time for the Repco Garage to discuss his top 10 races.

Since his touring car career started in 1994, Lowndes has been a star after sealing three ATCC/V8 Supercar Championships and seven Repco Bathurst 1000 victories making it a hard decision to restrict this to just 10 races.

Here are the Repco Garage suggestions in chronological order below.

1994 Bathurst 1000

Having received his chance at the Holden Racing Team courtesy of Swedish star Rickard Rydell being unable to make it out for the endurance races, Lowndes grabbed his opportunity. Credit must go to co-driver Brad Jones for putting Lowndes in a position to attack John Bowe for the lead, but it was the rookie making the now iconic pass around the outside of Griffin’s Bend to enter Bathurst folklore. Although he didn’t win the race, it set Lowndes up for a title tilt in his maiden full-season in 1996.

1996 Eastern Creek

HRT was about to enter an incredibly successful era of domination resulting in six championships out of seven seasons. Lowndes kickstarted this by securing the 1996 title and it all started at Eastern Creek. Racing at night on a shortened version of the Eastern Creek circuit, Lowndes finished second in the opener, but took victories in the following two races. The last proved a dominating performance.

1999 Adelaide

After his 1996 Australian Touring Car Championship success, a trip to Europe and another title on his return, Lowndes was on the way to a third in 1999 although there were some hardships. One was obviously at Calder Park, the other was Round 2 in Adelaide. A collision with a backmarker in the opening 250km leg resulted in Lowndes being excluded from the results forcing him to start Sunday’s event from the back. In the days of more than 40 entries taking the start, it was a massive task for Lowndes to win, but he achieved a masterful feat and didn’t put a scratch on the HRT Commodore.

2003 Phillip Island

Switching to Ford for the 2001 season, it proved promising early as Lowndes was a consistent podium finisher until the Gibson Motorsport/00Motorsport team fell apart. This occurred just as the Blue Oval was upping the stakes by aligning with international powerhouse Prodrive to form Ford Performance Racing. Lowndes was the star recruit, but the partnership was not successful apart from victory at Phillip Island in what were tough, wet, windy conditions.

2005 Sandown 500

Moving from FPR at the start of 2005, Lowndes took the punt on Triple Eight Race Engineering as the British team targeted success. It was a superb choice as the following entries demonstrate and the first of these was the Sandown 500 in his first year at the team. Joined by French ace Yvan Muller, Lowndes made a last gasp pass to secure victory in the Bathurst warm up entering favouritism, but the Mountain was cruel on this occasion.

2006 Bathurst

An emotionally charged victory after the death of mentor Peter Brock the previous month. A late race charge from Rick Kelly added further pressure, but Lowndes alongside Jamie Whincup prevailed to start a stunning run of success for the duo and the team.

2007 Bathurst

The Mountain again provided success, but this time it was a battle to the end in greasy conditions. It was Lowndes again holding off five other drivers to take back-to-back victories with Whincup. Not only was it a success for Triple Eight, but Ford completed a podium sweep.

2010 Bathurst

A return to Holden came in 2010 in a major coup, but it didn’t dent the team’s ability to winning. After completing a Bathurst hat-trick in 2008 alongside Whincup the rules changed to prevent main series drivers pairing up together leading to a new partnership with racing legend Mark Skaife. Again, a late race safety car closed the margin to allow the two Triple Eight Commodores to complete a famous 1-2.

2015 Darwin

A first in the Australian Touring Car Championship, Lowndes scores win number 100. Darwin was the setting as Lowndes charged to win 100 after a collision at the start allowed the now veteran to slide through and score the milestone victory.

2016 Perth

A classic Lowndes charge. Thanks to a strategy change by engineer Ludo Lacroix forcing Lowndes to complete an extra pit stop for new tyres, forcing him to claw through half the field. It proved a masterstroke to lead Triple Eight’s first 1-2-3.