Craig Lowndes set for full tilt at Yas

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Craig Lowndes set for full tilt at Yas

Triple Australia V8 Supercar champion Craig Lowndes is gearing up to race the full length of the Yas Marina Circuit and hopefully leapfrog to second in the championship standings.

By James Jose

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Published: Thu 25 Oct 2012, 12:26 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:24 PM

Lowndes and the rest of the field will be in Abu Dhabi when the Australia V8 Supercar Series rolls into the UAE capital for a third time. The Australia V8 Supercar Series will be the supporting race for the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the first time. The fourth running of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be held from November 1 to 4.

The last time the Australia V8 Supercar series raced at the Yas Marina Circuit was in February 2011. Abu Dhabi was the season-opener in 2010 and 2011. The championship rounds were run over 4.7km of the Circuit. But this time, the drivers will get to experience the full GP distance of 5.5km. And Lowndes, is pretty kicked about it.

“I’m excited about the track layout and extension. We would have loved to race the full circuit last time. We supported the Formula One in Melbourne this time. It is a great association with Formula One. I’m more excited this time that we will be racing the full circuit at the Yas Marina. Going down the back straight will be awesome,” Lowndes told the Khaleej Times by phone from Queensland, Australia, in an exclusive interview.

The 38-year-old is third in the standings heading into Abu Dhabi, with three races left.

Jamie Whincup leads the championship table with 3060 points followed by Mark Winterbottom on 2842. Lowndes is on 2815 and a good shot at moving to second, in a week’s time.

“The season has been pretty good so far. We had one mistake early in the year. But most of it after that has been consistent. I’m third in the championship and very close to second. So, my target would be to get to second at the Yas Marina Circuit,” said the driver from Triple Eight Race Engineering.

Lowndes finished third at the famed Bathurst 1000 in Mount Panorama where he had won the endurance event five times previously. He has also finished second five times. Lowndes has put that behind him and after the Gold Coast 600, is now eagerly looking forward to Abu Dhabi. “The Bathurst is the ultimate race. It is also the race of the year. Having said that, the Yas Marina Circuit is so good, in many ways. The speed, the facilities, the racing is unbelievable,” he said.

He said the changes to the rules will make it interesting but added that he preferred pit stops because of the strategies involved.

“There are changes this time where we will have three sprint races. So, there will not be pit stops. I usually enjoyed the pit stop strategies,” said Lowndes.

Lowndes was in Abu Dhabi back in April for a ‘Bucket List’ with Ford Irwing Racing’s Lee Holdsworth. And he had has good memories from that trip.

“It is fantastic to go over to Abu Dhabi. I was in Abu Dhabi earlier in April for the ‘Buckets List’ with Lee Holdsworth. It was exciting to be a part of that. And we also got to see the rest of Abu Dhabi and not just the racing circuit,” he said.

He was also happy with the way motorsport is progressing in Abu Dhabi.

“Motorsport has taken off in Abu Dhabi. You have the Yas Racing School and also drag races. The motorsport culture is there,” Lowndes said.

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