IT’S not where he wanted to be, but Craig Lowndes will start his final Great Race as a full-time driver from ninth place on the grid on Sunday.
The Supercars veteran had qualified sixth for Saturday’s shootout, seeing him equal his mentor Peter Brock’s tally of 17 Bathurst top 10 shootouts,
However, he couldn’t hold that position, slipping down the order to ninth with his time of 2:05.0835.
He was more than a second away from the pole-winning time of 2:04.0588, set by Erebus’ David Reynolds towards the end of the session.
“I'm a little disappointed that we didn't secure that third row where we qualified yesterday, but the good thing to come out of today is that we fixed our issues with the power steering, so I'm really delighted,” Lowndes said.
“A lot of hard work was done by the team. I think we replaced everything in the front of this car, but it's a really big positive knowing that we're going to do 161 laps tomorrow with everything working.
“The car balance wasn't perfect, we had a little bit of understeer across the top and I probably didn't attack the lap as much as I'd like now knowing that the steering issues are gone. But look, it's great to be in the top 10 for the last time as a full-time driver.”
By the end of day three at the mountain, Lowndes’ co-driver, Steven Richards, felt that the issues in #888 had been solved ahead of Sunday’s endurance race.
“I think weather-wise we're looking okay for tomorrow unless there's something local later in the day,” Richards said.
“I'm sure it'll be our typical Bathurst soap opera! Things will move and shake and turn, but we're in a good place.
“Now we've got our little issues sorted out I think we should all be more positive and confident tomorrow.”
Triple Eight Race Engineering had all three of its cars in the shootout.
It’s other two drivers, Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergan, will start from positions two and four on the grid for Sunday’s race.
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