Image credit: TVNZ.

Craig Lowndes enhanced his championship chances with a victory in the first super sprint race at Phillip Island.

Lowndes won the race off the line with a blistering start, coming from third on the grid to take the lead, passing his team mate Jamie Whincup and Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin.

Once in the lead Lowndes never looked back, with his only job to hold off his team mate, Whincup who ended up playing rear-gunner.

McLaughlin shadowed the two Red Bull Racing Australia Holden’s to finish in third place.

The major talking point came when David Reynolds and Shan van Gisbergen came to blows at turn six.

After running side by side through the first corner on the first lap which lead to van Gisbergen running wide, the Kiwi then went on the attack – making contact a lap later causing Reynolds to have a high speed spin and drop to the back of the field.

The result meant Lowndes goes above Reynolds to take second place in the championship.

James Moffat, who was the highest Nissan rounded out the top five ahead of James Courtney in the first of the factory Holden’s.

Mark Winterbottom held on to his championship lead with a seventh place finish, but it was not with out drama as the Prodrive team was forced to change the Fords engine in only 38 minutes before the race.

Garth Tander, who started from 15th on the grid, eventually finished eight ahead of Cam Walters and Tim Slade.

Charlie Price