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R11 RACE 2 - SLIPPERY WHEN WET, BUT PARADISE FOR BARGS

A Surfers Paradise downpour has ended Jason Bargwanna's two-year V8 Supercar drought, winning this morning's final 100km Indy shootout to clinch a popular round victory.

The fist-pumping win in treacherous conditions is Bargwanna's third, the first since his 2000 Bathurst win with Garth Tander, and comes with his future beyond this season in doubt.

He is yet to join Tander in re-signing with Garry Rogers Motorsport, with talk he may be shown the door.

His victory was only made possible by a last-minute reprieve from race officials. Stripped of his fifth place yesterday for kerb hopping, a plea to stewards saw him reinstated to the third row of the grid this morning.

"I looked out the window this morning and I knew it was going to be a good day," Bargwanna said. "This is just great, I'm very excited."

"It is a bit of a relief in a sense, we've had such a tough year. But I've always believed in what I can do. I was out to win the race - I love driving around like that, I love driving in the wet."

Craig Lowndes came agonisingly close to winning his first round in a Ford, finishing second today after a fantastic start from the second row, tying with Bargwanna on 144 points. He was relegated to the second tier of the podium on a count back.

"The conditions were very tough today and it was a situation where you needed to stay off the kerbs and keep it on the road," Lowndes said.

"The car was very strong today and although we weren't officially named the winner, I feel more than satisfied with the result."

Kmart Racing's Todd Kelly was third across the line ahead of Tander, who sat behind his teammate for much of the race.

Race one winner and pole-sitter Greg Murphy again put himself in a winning position but a call to change to slick tyres at his pit stop was the wrong one. As rain persisted he slipped back to 18th, just hanging onto a podium place - and jumping to third in the series.

"I called for slicks, it was either going to be hero and zero and it turned out to be a zero," he said.

With the championship in the bag, Mark Skaife endured a wretched weekend, forced out of today's race with an engine misfire. Marcos Ambrose also parked his Pirtek Falcon with a gearbox failure.

Steven Ellery crashed out, coming together with the Ford of Cameron McLean. Ellery's New Zealand campaign, with cars to depart the port of Brisbane on Tuesday, is now in grave doubt.

"The team will be doing some long hours to prepare the Falcon," he said. "The back left-hand section of the boot is mince, and so is the front.

"It is shattering to race against people who have no respect for human life," he said of McLean.

Race two results:
http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?27/10/2002.GOLD.R10

--V8 WIRE (Jason Whittaker)

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