Jamie Whincup has ensured his surrendering of the championship lead to Mark Winterbottom would be shortlived; the TeamVodafone driver moved straight back to the top of the points table – by a solitary point! – with a win in today’s closing race at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Determined to show that yesterday’s 23rd-placed result in Race 1 was no more than a blip in his charge to another championship title, Whincup made an excellent getaway from the front row to take an early lead ahead of pole-sitting team-mate Craig Lowndes.
Whincup would ultimately control much of the race, but the attention in the early laps went to the grid’s most senior driver, Russell Ingall, who staged an early climb through the field after electing to start the race on the softer Dunlop tyres.
With the extra grip at his disposal, Ingall carved his way up the order and took the lead within the first half-dozen laps.
While Whincup and Lowndes both opted for early tyre changes – the latter being delayed by a wheelgun failure – Ingall’s eventual pit-lane visit saw him lose ground to the leaders as he rejoined in an effective fourth position.
Despite his alternate strategy, the veteran had more than enough pace to keep up, and finished a widely-applauded fourth place, splitting the two works Ford Performance Racing entries of Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison, who finished third and fifth respectively.
Lowndes managed to fight his way past Winterbottom (who managed to get ahead in the first round of stops, courtesy of Lowndes’ delays in pit lane) with a neat passing move during the race, but he was unable to eat into the lead that Whincup had managed to build, with the pair crossing the finish line 11.4 seconds apart.
The result was enough for Whincup to resume as the leader of the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the three all-important endurance events at Sandown, Bathurst and Surfers Paradise – all of which will be pivotal in deciding the outcome of this year’s exciting championship fight.
2012 V8 Supercars Sydney Motorsport Park 360 – Race 1 Result (36 laps):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Laps||Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||56||1:27:43.9474|
|2.||Craig Lowndes||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||56||+ 11.4428|
|3.||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing||56||+ 13.5576|
|4.||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto / Walkinshaw Racing||56||+ 16.8914|
|5.||Will Davison||Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing||56||+ 24.0360|
|6.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing||56||+ 24.8936|
|7.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash||56||+ 27.6256|
|8.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||56||+ 28.0186|
|9.||Garth Tander||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||56||+ 29.3981|
|10.||James Courtney||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||56||+ 45.7355|
|11.||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||56||+ 57.3211|
|12.||Michael Patrizi||Tekno Autosports||56||+ 1:01.8506|
|13.||Shane van Gisbergen||SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing||56||+ 1:04.3232|
|14.||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 Racing / Stone Brothers Racing||56||+ 1:06.4958|
|15.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||56||+ 1:14.9605|
|16.||James Moffat||Team Norton / Dick Johnson Racing||56||+ 1:17.3307|
|17.||Jonathon Webb||Tekno Autosports||56||+ 1:17.5126|
|18.||Dean Fiore||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||56||+ 1:25.4713|
|19.||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||56||+ 1:28.2121|
|20.||Tony D’Alberto||HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing||56||+ 1:28.2403|
|21.||Lee Holdsworth||Irwin Racing / Stone Brothers Racing||55||1 lap behind|
|22.||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods / Dick Johnson Racing||55||1 lap behind|
|23.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||55||1 lap behind|
|24.||Taz Douglas||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||55||1 lap behind|
|25.||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds / Kelly Racing||55||1 lap behind|
|26.||Jacques Villeneuve||Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing||55||1 lap behind|
|27.||Alexandre Prémat||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||55||1 lap behind|
|28.||David Wall||Wilson Security / Brad Jones Racing||52||4 laps behind|
Our regular V8 Supercars contributor, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, is currently on holidays.