HOBART, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 08: Craig Lowndes driver of the #888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing Holden Commodore ZB celebrates after winning race 2 for the Supercars Tasmania SuperSprint on April 8, 2018 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

The Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint was a welcome back to form, for one of Australia’s favourite motorsport sons. In two races held at Symmons Plains Raceway, fans could see that there was plenty of ‘fire’ left in the belly of Craig Lowndes.

Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint – Plenty of Fire left in the belly of Craig Lowndes

A terrific drive from pole position saw Craig Lowndes win race number eight of the season. And the day before, he returned to form in a run for second place, to take the weekends results at the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint.

If anything, this weekend the three-time Supercars champion returned to form. Demonstrating that he still had ‘plenty of fire in the belly’ it was a class show. He drove his ZB Holden Commodore to the edge, out-performing the ‘works team’ driver of Jamie Whincup, of Red Bull Holden Australia.

His Autobarn Lowndes 888 Racing team, a third car in the Red Bull stable, underlined that sides gauge of the newly developed ZB Holden. But as much as it was a great showing again for the Commodore, it was the drive of Lowndes which will be celebrated.

“More relieved,” when asked how he felt post-race. “We’ve been pushing hard, this year we want to be more consistent. We wanted to be on the podium and hopefully we proved it this weekend.

“Having sort of ‘part of our own team’ it’s been a long time coming. I can’t thank the team enough”. And Lowndes was applauded by the Symmonds Plains fans and by all the other teams, as a race car driver who can still perform.

First Win for Lowndes since 2016

Lowndes, who for many took over the mantle in the passing of Peter Brock, had been on a ‘lean run’. Bereft of a race win since Race 17 at Queensland Raceway in 2016! That is a year and a half of hardship, for a man who has amassed a tremendous curriculum vitae of over 600 Production Car/V8 Supercars races.

He raced hard on Saturday, to follow his former team mate Jamie Whincup to second. Yet fans saw he had the speed and stamina which he hadn’t demonstrated in sometime. And then on the Sunday he went out in qualifying, and put his car onto Pole Position.

From there, Lowndes was able to dictate terms on Sunday. He only real challenge came from kiwi driver Scott McLaughlin. The DJR Team Penski driver did his best, but once overtaken, was only able to keep Lowndes in sight while holding off Jamie Whincup [third place].

With 106 race wins to his credit, the kid who joined the Championship in 1996, has become the man. Known to be a cool character, for his ability to drive in adverse conditions and his run of victories at Bathurst, this race win will be a personal boost after some lean periods.

“This will give him faith again, that he can win races.”

“Look for a resurgence from Craig Lowndes for the rest of the year,” was the call from his former adversary Mark Skaife. The two drivers have a long history, but all across Australian motorsport, Lowndes is respected as one of the best drivers.

And for the championships sake, a competitive Craig Lowndes, can only make the racing that much better.

2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship standings

The results today, where Craig Lowndes showed he has plenty of fire left in his belly, was polar opposite to series leader Shane van Ginsberg. His dramas with a faulty accelerator pedal only demoted his place on the ladder; down to fifth place (below Mobil1 Boost Mobile driver James Courtney).

After eight races, the new series leader is Jamie Whincup. His consistency is showing reward, with a couple of race wins to his name. That is above an second-equal placing for McLaughlin and Erebus Penrite Racing driver, David Reynolds.

VASC Points table: Top Ten

Whincup 658 | McLaughlin 647 | Reybolds 647 | Courtney 624 | van Gisbergen 618 | Lowndes 597 | Scott Pye 589 | Nick Percat 505 | Chaz Mostert 494 | Tim Slade 479

With the next race scheduled for April 20-22, the WD-40 Phillip Island 500 should be another interesting step. With more than six winning drivers so far, the parity of the class and it’s competitive nature, it should offer fans more entertainment on the highly respected race track in Melbourne, Victoria.

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