Craig Lowndes hit the lead inside the final 30 laps at Mount Panorama to register his seventh Bathurst 1000 win. (AAP: Brendan Esposito)
Craig Lowndes has produced a brilliant drive to win his seventh Bathurst 1000, taking advantage of an ailing David Reynolds to clinch victory at Mount Panorama.
Last year’s winner Reynolds led for most of the day, but Lowndes thrilled the big crowds on the mountain by pushing him close as the race entered its final 30 laps.
Eventually a cramping Reynolds was unable to hold off Lowndes who overtook him on lap 135 of the 161-lap race.
Reynolds’ cramping led him to spin the wheels in his final fuel stop, drawing a pit lane penalty, leaving Lowndes — partnered by now five-time winner Steven Richards — to go on to win by six seconds from Scott Pye, with Scott McLaughlin in third.
Erebus Motorsport’s Reynolds was attempting to become the first man since Lowndes (who won every year from 2006 to 2008) to win consecutive editions of the Bathurst 1000.
Lowndes made an emotional announcement in July at the Townsville 400, confirming this year would be his last full-time season in the championship.
“[It means] a lot, it’s like [the win in 2006] over again,” Lowndes told Fox Sports after today’s race.
“These guys [the team] have done a hell of a job all weekend, we’ve had problems with steering the whole time.
“It’s a pity for Reynolds, I don’t know what happened to him, but they were the benchmark the whole weekend.
“But when we got the lead we didn’t want to give it up!”
An emotional David Reynolds was left to wonder what might have been after cramps ended his hopes of going back-to-back. (AAP: Brendan Esposito)
A shattered Reynolds apologised after the race, admitting he had felt below his best all day.
“Even in the first 15 laps I wasn’t mentally there. I was just lost,” he said.
“My body gave up after that. I’m just so disappointed for everyone.
“We were the best car all weekend … I just can’t believe it,” he said.
More to come.