Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes has scored his 25th career V8 Supercar Championship Series win and in the process has taken the lead in the title chase at Sydney's Oran Park.
Lowndes third win of the season now has him 37- points in front of Rick Kelly who finished second this weekend.
It was Ford's fourth-straight win at the Sydney track; Marcos Ambrose (2003 and 2004) and Russell Ingall (2005). It was also Lowndes first win at Oran Park since 1998.
Ford leads the Manufacturer's Championship four rounds wins to three over Holden.
Rounding out the top-three was James Courtney (Jeld-Wen Motorsport) who took his first career podium.
Finishing on the same points as Courtney was First Rock Home Loans Racing's Steven Johnson. Mark Winterbottom (BroadIP / Ford Credit Ford Performance Racing) took his seventh-straight top-10 finish with fifth overall.
Former championship leader Garth Tander slipped to third in the title chase following a 20th place finish. Tander was not alone in having dramas, as numerous incidents occurred throughout all three races.
The final race of the weekend provided the final sting with action from the opening lap when Todd Kelly, Steven Richards and Jason Bright (CAT Ford Performance Racing) were all eliminated in the one accident.
Jamie Whincup (Team Betta Electrical) was on-course for second place overall before engine dramas sidelined him while leading the final race of the weekend. The major incident involved Max Wilson (WPS Racing), who rolled his Falcon after leaving the track.
No driver suffered injuries in any of the incidents.
Through all the chaos steered Lowndes, who even despite a spin in race #2, where he finished second, was the star of the day.
"We are delighted to win this weekend, it really went our way," said Lowndes.
"Our car was very good, especially on the longer runs. It took really good care of its tyres and that was the big bonus after the numerous safety cars we had.
"The car was very consistent throughout the weekend and it gave me plenty of confidence to attack.
"The team gave me three very good stops, which always helps. I needed them as my starts were pretty poor.
"This has been a great championship result and for the first time this year I'm starting to look at the title. In saying all that, we will keep on attacking, especially at Sandown and Bathurst where I will share the car with Jamie Whincup.
"When we set out our ideal plan at the start of the year, this is what we were looking for. We are really looking forward to the big races and keeping things going in the right direction."
After nearly taking a podium at the recent round in Queensland, James Courtney has proved his value with a much deserved third-place overall.
"It's good to break the ice and really finish off a weekend of racing," said Courtney.
"I'm really happy for the team after bending a few cars at the start of the year. They have never given up on me and it's important for them to get this result.
"Queensland showed that we have the potential. Today proved that we can do it consistently and I'm sure that we can prove that again in the second half of the year.
"I came into this round pretty well prepared. A lot of laps last Monday in a Ford Focus road car were pretty important to learn the track.
"I've really enjoyed the last couple of races from a driver's point of view. Racing with top drivers brings out the best in me, so that's been very satisfying.
"Now I finally get to race on two tracks that I know in Sandown and Bathurst. I'm looking forward to racing with Glenn Seton who has plenty of experience of those tracks. I think we have a strong combination and we will be at the pointy end."
The V8 Supercar Championship Series now heads into endurance mode with twin-driver races. The first is the Betta Electrical 500 at Sandown from 1-3 September.
Lowndes won the event last year and with Clipsal 500 winner Jamie Whincup also in the car, the #888 car will be the one to catch.
Overall Round Results: Oran Park
1. Craig Lowndes : Team Betta Electrical : Ford Falcon
2. Rick Kelly : Toll HSV : Holden Commodore
3. James Courtney : Jeld-Wen Motorsport : Ford Falcon
4. Steven Johnson : First Rock Home Loans : Ford Falcon
5. Mark Winterbottom : Ford Credit FPR : Ford Falcon
6. Lee Holdsworth : Valvoline Racing : Holden Commodore
7. Jason Bargwanna : WPS Racing : Ford Falcon
8. Cameron McConville : Supercheap Auto Racing : Holden Commodore
9. Russell Ingall : Caltex Racing : Ford Falcon
10. Jason Richards : Tasman Motorsport : Holden Commodore
Championship after 7 of 13 rounds
1. Craig Lowndes : Team Betta Electrical : Ford Falcon 1918 pts
2. Rick Kelly : Toll HSV : Holden Commodore -37 pts
3. Garth Tander : Toll HSV : Holden Commodore -140 pts
4. Mark Winterbottom : Ford Credit FPR : Ford Falcon -255 pts
5. Russell Ingall : Caltex Racing : Ford Falcon -256 pts
6. Steven Richards : Jack Daniel's Racing : Holden Commodore -386 pts
7. Jamie Whincup : Team Betta Electrical : Ford Falcon -494 pts
8. Steven Johnson : First Rock Home Loans : Ford Falcon -515 pts
9. Jason Bright : CAT FPR : Ford Falcon -526 pts
10. Paul Dumbrell : Jack Daniel's Racing : Holden Commodore -552 pts
WAG363: AUII LTD Supercharged 363 Dart Stroker [Supercharged 363 LTD Build]
Go lowndes!!! please god dont let a holden win the championship...
Todd: Nurse, suction.
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