Image credit: Getty Images/Sydney Morning Herald.
Craig Lowndes claimed his second win of the weekend at Phillip Island to keep his championship chance alive going into the final weekend at Sydney.
Lowndes, who started from second had a poor launch, and before they reached turn four he was down to forth behind team mate Jamie Whincup and Volvos Scott McLaughlin.
While 41 year-old Lowndes had slipped down to forth his championship rival Mark Winterbottom was leading the race closely followed by McLaughlin and Whincup who chose to pit early freeing up Lowndes to go on the attack.
Despite Lowndes setting some blistering lap times it was McLaughlin who was leading after the first round of pit stops, flowed by Winterbottom, Whincup and then Lowndes.
Lowndes continued to mount pressure on the top three eventually passing both Whincup and Winterbottom before the second round of pit stops.
A good stop from the Red Bull Racing Australia crew meant that Lowndes was able to jump McLaughlin and take the lead.
The Volvo driver managed to stay in touch with Lowndes but never really challenged him meaning he went on the claim his 103rd victory. While a victory eluded McLaughlin his second place finish meant he claimed his third podium of the weekend, his best weekend in 2015.
Behind the front two there was last lap controversy when Whincup made a last gasp move on Winterbottom. Whincup dived down the inside, leading to contact between the two, with the Red Bull Racing Australia driver claiming the place.
With Winterbottom down to fourth it meant Whincup’s team mate, Lowndes clawed back more points on his championship rival. The gap between Winterbottom and Lowndes is now only 179 points.
It was a good race for Nissan with three of their four cars in the top ten. Todd and Rick Kelly finished fifth and sixth and James Moffat eighth, the trio being separated by Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen in seventh.
Garth Tander and David Reynolds rounded out the top ten. The poor weekend for Reynolds has seen him drop from second in the championship, to third and following this weekend is now mathematically out the running.
The championship will be decided at the Sydney 500 between the 4-6 of December.