Ford's three-peat equals Bathurst history

Ford driver's Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup drove into history yesterday after combining to win their third Bathurst 1000 at Mt Panorama, emulating the feat of the great Peter Brock who did it twice, once with Jim Richards and with Larry Perkins, ...

Ford's three-peat equals Bathurst history

Ford driver's Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup drove into history yesterday after combining to win their third Bathurst 1000 at Mt Panorama, emulating the feat of the great Peter Brock who did it twice, once with Jim Richards and with Larry Perkins, but that was 24 years ago.

Lowndes, often referred to as Brocky's protégé through their association at the Holden Racing Team all those years ago had a tear or two in his eye when lifting the Peter Brock Trophy once again, much to the disappointment of Holden Motorsport. You couldn't help but feel for this champion driver, who was given the nickname 'kid' when he secured his first Bathurst win back in 1996, ironically in a Holden. Lowndes now is the toast of Ford fans throughout Australia.

The record breaking win catapulted team mate Jamie Whincup into the lead of the driver's championship ahead of fellow Ford pilot Mark Winterbottom, who moved ahead of Holden's Garth Tander, who led the series after winning the first endurance race at Phillip Island a month earlier.

Tander, who grabbed pole position during Saturday's top ten shoot out took the # 1 to the Holden Racing Team this year after winning in the sister team Toll/HSV Racing Team last year could be excused for kicking himself after jumping the start, then stalling the car on the grid.

After the field passed, there was more to come, officials penalised him for the indiscretion, which cost the team a drive through penalty. To add insult to injury after bringing the car back through the field late in the day, team mate Mark Skaife hit the wall at Forrest Elbow, forcing the car back to the pits for running repairs, effectively ending their chance of a podium once again with 60 laps to go.

If anyone was going to spoil the Ford party it was the Holden duo of Kiwi pairing Greg Murphy and Jason Richards in the Sprint Gas Racing Holden Commodore. Executives at Holden were fuming last year after the all Ford podium, a repeat they were not looking forward to again this year. Murphy, who knows the feeling of winning the Great Race, won his first Bathurst with Lowndes and has tasted victory twice since after consecutive victories with the former K-Mart Racing Team. Murphy, who is known for his passionate approach to his racing was fuming in the early stages of the race when he and Lowndes came together on Mountain Straight, which allowed Lowndes to move into third, although all was forgotten when they both shook hands in pit lane at the end of the day.

Although there is talk that Stone Bros Ford Racing driver James Courtney is moving on in season 2009, he finished on the podium in third place, after partnering with co-driver David Besnard. Courtney, who was sitting behind Tander on the grid managed to pull out in front of him, avoiding the field moving across going into Hell Corner. After a dozen or so laps, Courtney moved into the lead and set the pace, stretching his lead by almost 10 seconds. However, late in the race two delaminated tyres proved to be costly, causing an unscheduled pit stop whilst Besnard was behind the wheel.

The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 was not without incident. Over the weekend Paul Radisich and Paul Weel where injured after spectacular accidents. Radisich suffering a broken ankle while Weel a fractured rib. Chris Pither was unscathed after careering into Weel, and the Team Kiwi outfit worked overtime to get the all black Ford onto the track on Sunday.

Many a pundit are comparing Lowndes to Brock, which is fitting to some degree, even calling him the Prince of Panorama. In the eyes of all Holden fans there will be only one King of the Mountain and I'm sure Lowndes agrees with that.

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