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Posted: Mon May 15, 2006 2:18 pm 
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Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes has finished third over at the third round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Perth's Barbagallo Raceway.

Defending V8 Supercar champion, Russell Ingall (Caltex Racing), finished sixth overall and extended his championship lead to 14 points from Garth Tander.

Steven Richards took his second-straight victory ahead of Mark Skaife.

Over the three individual races on the weekend Lowndes finished third, 14th (reverse-grid) and second.

One of the most notable aspects of the racing was that there was just one safety car, and that came midway through the final race when Jeld-Wen Motorsport's James Courtney stopped just before the pitlane with engine problems.

Despite the lack of safety cars, there was still plenty of action on the track with numerous spins and collisions; all without major damage.

Lowndes had numerous battles, including a fight with Skaife to the chequered flag in the final race. His result in WA has moved to fifth in the championship 80-points behind Ingall.

"For us it's a great result, especially after last year when we struggled," said Lowndes.

"It would have been nice to get a win in the final race, but it was the classic situation where Skaife's car was just a bit quicker in the wrong places.

"The car was very consistent over the course of the weekend. We just didn't catch a break in the reverse-grid race to really show how good it was.

"There's certainly more work to do, especially with such tough opposition. We are well placed, but I'm not going to think about the championship at this early stage in the season."

Ingall recovered from a qualifying position of 17th to fight his way through the races to end the weekend in sixth overall.

“We didn’t have the car to fight for the win today,â€￾ said Ingall.

“The next best thing was to finish in front of the biggest championship contenders and we were able to do that.

“There was not one team that wasn’t chasing set up today, the conditions of this track are so changeable. In the end it came down to who bolted the best set up on the car on the day.

“Even though we struggled this weekend, we extended our championship lead. Still, SBR will not rest as we want to win the championship by winning races.

“The next three weeks before Winton will be very intense to come up with a car that can change that.â€￾

Another strong weekend from Ford Credit / Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom who was fifth overall, including third position in the final race.

"A great finish to a strong weekend," said Winterbottom.

"Excellent pit work helped to give me a top three finish and the car was without a doubt the best car that I have ever driven at this circuit- it was unbelievable on our good set of tyres.

"It was just like NZ again - being the meat in the sandwich between Skaife and Lowndes, except that I made a mistake at the first turn that let Lowndes through this time. It was great to make the top three in that race and fifth for the round."

Steve Johnson (First Rock Home Mortgage Racing) took his third-straight top-10 result with eighth overall to be sixth in the title chase.

Team now head back across the country and a return to Winton Motor Raceway outside Benalla from 2-4 June.



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Posted: Mon May 15, 2006 10:05 pm 
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he ALMOST had skaifey at the end of race 3... race needed to be 5 laps longer




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