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Lowndes returns to Holden
15:43 AEST Wed Jul 29 2009
Craig Lowndes
Craig Lowndes and team Vodafone teammate Jamie Whincup will race Holden Commodores from 2010.

Supercar supremos Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup are confident of continuing their V8 series domination when they buckle into Holdens next season.

In a three-year deal, the TeamVodafone Ford outfit the pair race for will become a Holden team from 2010.

The extraordinary move means Lowndes will be returning to the genesis of his touring car career.

It was in a Commodore that he became the hottest ticket in the sport, winning both the V8 title and the Bathurst 1000 as a 22-year-old in 1996.

Triple Eight Racing, the successful British-based engineering company from which TeamVodafone emerged, has defected to Holden after Ford withdrew factory support last year.

Ford poured all its Supercar resources into two teams - Ford Performance Racing and Stone Brothers Racing - but it was Lowndes and Whincup who dominated the year.

The duo won Bathurst for the second straight year and Whincup was crowned V8 Supercar champion.

TeamVodafone has again set the pace this season, winning nine out of the 12 races so far with more success in sight at this weekend's Sandown round in Melbourne.

Lowndes was prevented from appearing at Wednesday's announcement at General Motors headquarters as he is contracted to Ford until the end of the season but Whincup said he believed he could win next year in a Holden.

"We both share a common goal and that's to win races and win championships," Whincup said.

"I haven't won a championship for Holden and, fingers crossed that that can happen as early as next year.

"Already the Holden product is a fine-tuned fantastic product. What we do at TeamVodafone with our engineers is try to make that race car as fast as it can be.

"So pooling those resources together will make it an extremely competitive vehicle and I can't see any reason why we can't continue our winning ways like we have this year."

Whincup said he was "disappointed" that Ford had withdrawn factory support for TeamVodafone at the end of last season.

"Now we're making a step forward, we've got manufacturers' support for 2010 and hopefully we'll have (it) for many years to come."

Whincup, who began his Supercar career driving a Holden, said reaction to rumours of the switch had been "mixed."

"There are a lot of Holden fans out there who supported myself and also Craig many years ago who have come back and think it's fantastic.

"Then again, on the flip side, the day-to-day conversations I have on my website, those people are obviously heavily disappointed.

"At the moment we don't have any manufacturers' support and a lot of my fans support myself and TeamVodafone and I'm pretty sure most of them will continue," he said.

Holden's in-coming chief Alan Batey said the new deal would not adversely affect other Commodore outfits including the factory Holden Racing Team.

"I believe that the combination of TeamVodafone and HRT is going to put us in a very good position to be extremely competitive and be challenging for the podium wherever we go around the country," Batey said.

"Obviously it's more than just two teams. But the bottom line is when the best of the best is an opportunity ... we're not going to waste that, so this just strengthens our teams."


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