Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup are back together again.
Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup are back together again.

Whincup driven by big Bathurst regret

JAMIE Whincup won't be shy about giving teammate Craig Lowndes a hug if the reunited Triple Eight dream team can again conquer Mount Panorama on Sunday.

Ahead of the pair's first race together in 10 years, the Red Bull Holden Racing Team star has revealed his big regret from his famous Bathurst 1000 win alongside Lowndes in 2006.

Showing another side to the V8 iceman, Whincup said he wished he had embraced a clearly emotional Lowndes on the podium after the first of the duo's hat-trick of wins in the Great Race.

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The most famous of Lowndes' seven Bathurst crowns, the 2006 victory came shortly after the death of Lowndes' long-time mentor, and the original King of the Mountain, Peter Brock.

Lowndes was filled with emotion as the victorious pair were presented to the crowd on the podium and Whincup said if he had his time again he would have given his teammate a hug.

"It (2006) was obviously a very special year, the great man (Brock) has passed away only a few months before," Whincup said.

"He (Lowndes) says without doubt it is by far his best victory.

Jamie Whincup warms up the Holden for the weekend ahead.
Jamie Whincup warms up the Holden for the weekend ahead.

"I was very lucky to be able to share that with him. If I had my time again, I would have given him a hug on the podium, but I was pretty young then and I wasn't into that stuff at all.

"I just sort of left him hanging there, I didn't really know what to do. 'Hey, don't worry mate, your wife is there, just give it two minutes and you can hug her'.

"But I certainly would have given him a hug in this day and age, it was a pretty emotional one for him."

Whincup and Lowndes combined to win three Bathurst titles between 2006 and 2008 and finished fifth in 2009 before Supercars rules changed so two full-time series drivers could not team up together.

The seven-time Supercars champion went on to win his fourth Bathurst crown - with Paul Dumbrell - three years later in 2012. He has been stranded on four titles since.

Craig Lowndes takes in practice from pit lane.
Craig Lowndes takes in practice from pit lane.

Whincup has endured a string of bad luck on the mountain; running out of fuel in 2014, passing the safety car in 2015, a win-denying penalty in 2016, engine fault in 2017 and a lost wheel in 2018.

The Holden star hoped teaming up with the mountain's favourite son - and defending champion - again would help him break his recent Bathurst curse.

"I'm hoping Lowndesy brings me some good luck, but in saying that I'm a huge advocate that you make your own luck," Whincup said.

"We haven't made much luck up there, but hopefully everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. I've had a good mix of all sorts of things that have happened with a wheel falling off, penalty and the safety car. Gee, what else was there? Running out of fuel, it just goes on and on.

"All in all I'm very grateful that I've been a contributor to the race. I'd hate to just run mid-pack and no one talk about it.

"Although I've lost more than I've probably won, I'm really proud of the fact that I've been able to contribute every year and hopefully we can contribute and make up part of the story this year."

Lowndes and Whincup took the 2006 honours.
Lowndes and Whincup took the 2006 honours.

But the man with more Supercars titles than any other driver said he had not let his frustrating recent run at the mountain cast a shadow over his Bathurst record.

"I used to always think that the result was all that mattered, but what I have learnt it's not just about the result, it's the effort, the effort comes before the result," Whincup said.

"One of the best Bathursts I had was when I ran out of fuel because we started last. It wasn't our race to win, we started last … it wasn't our race, but we almost stole it, we led the race on the last lap.

"The effort to get from last to first almost two laps down and then back to lead the race on the last lap, that to me has got more value than any win up there."

News Corp Australia


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