Craig Lowndes claimed the 2018 Bathurst crown in a dream end to his final year as a full-time driver.
Lowndes equalled the record of his co-driver Steven Richards’ father Jim taking out his seventh Bathurst title, only behind the late Peter Brock with nine.
In emotional scenes after the race, Lowndes described the win as his most emotional since winning the 2006 title in the wake of Brock’s death.
It was Steven Richards fifth Bathurst title and he said it was wonderfully fitting for Lowndes to win in his final year as a full-time driver.
While it was a dream finish for Lowndes, it was a devastating day for David Reynolds who led until the 135th lap of 161 laps when he relinquished the lead to Lowndes when severe cramping forced a mistake.
Reynolds was eventually forced to retire and was unable to defend his Bathurst title.
Scott Pye and Warren Luff were second, with Scott McLaughlin Alex Premat in third.
Lowndes said this year’s victory was particularly special and very much a team effort as they had overcome steering problems throughout the weekend.
“It’s almost like 06 back again,” he said of his famous win after his hero Peter Brock’s death.
“On that last lap I had never had such a gap to enjoy the crowd and the enormity of what we’d achieved,” Lowndes said.
Reynolds was visibly upset as his race came to end prematurely because of severe cramping.
He managed to push through to the scheduled pit stop after relinquishing the lead to Lowndes.
But the combination of fatigue and cramping led to a mistake when he spun the wheels before the car was released costing him a pit lane pass-through. It was a cruel end after Reynolds had set the pace all day including a record race lap.
“Mate, I’m just so, so devastated,” Reynolds said during an interview on the broadcast.
“We had the fastest car all day and when Lowndes went past me I was at 50% throttle. I couldn’t tell if I was on the brake or on the throttle. I’ve never had anything like that in anything I’ve ever driven before.
“I’m just so disappointed for everyone involved. We had the best car. I just can’t believe it.”