Team Vodafone driver Jamie Whincup has started off his Sucrogen Townsville 400 campaign in the best possible manner, with pole position and a dominant race victory in Whincup won the opening race in Towsville the opening leg of this weekend’s V8 Supercars Championship event in the north Queensland city.

After a poor start dropped him to third behind Garth Tander and Mark Winterbottom, Whincup powered past Winterbottom on the second lap, and took the lead from Tander on lap eight. From there on, it was simply a case of easing out enough of a gap that he didn’t come under pressure from the chasing drivers behind him. Tander and Winterbottom completed the podium places.

Lee Holdsworth had another promising race, holding off championship-leader James Courtney for fourth place to the chequered flag, although the race wasn’t without incident for the latter…

Having successfully passed Jason Bright on lap two, the former Jaguar test driver perhaps attempted to find some inspiration from the Red Bull F1 team when he tried a very ill-advised passing move into the Turn 2 hairpin, and succeeded in cannoning into none other than his team-mate, Steven Johnson.

Johnson spun and dropped to 21st place (he would finish the race in eleventh), while Courtney lost comparatively fewer (dropping to ninth) and somehow managed to avoid a penalty from the race stewards for his impetuosity. No doubt some stern words were exchanged in the Jim Beam Racing garage after the race…

Sixth and seventh places at the chequered flag were occupied by two drivers who, if asked about their prospects after qualifying, would have thought a top-ten result would be a miracle: Russell Ingall and Jason Richards. Starting 27th and 25th respectively, the duo powered their way up the order on the street circuit, gaining close to forty placed between them by the time the chequered flag fell!

Completing the top-ten were the ever-consistent Shane van Gisbergen, Steven Richards and Paul Dumbrell.

Many in the packed crowd were perhaps left to feel sorry for former champions Jason Bright and Craig Lowndes, whose weekends deteriorated after solid performances in qualifying.

For Bright, who started from the second row, he would retire after 44 laps. For Lowndes, his race prospects would come crashing to a halt on the opening lap, when he made contact with the concrete walls at the first corner. After losing several laps having his damaged suspension repaired, he would finish in last place.


Race 1 Final Classification:

  Driver   Team Result
1. Jamie Whincup Holden Team Vodafone 1:31.16.331
2. Garth Tander Holden TOLL Holden Racing Team + 9.230
3. Mark Winterbottom Ford Ford Performance Racing + 18.984
4. Lee Holdsworth Holden Fujitsu Racing / GRM + 29.488
5. James Courtney Ford Jim Beam Racing + 29.879
6. Russell Ingall Holden Supercheap Auto Racing + 52.559
7. Jason Richards Holden Team BOC + 56.200
8. Shane van Gisbergen Ford SP Tools Racing + 57.520
9. Steven Richards Ford Ford Performance Racing + 1:00.478
10. Paul Dumbrell Ford The Bottle-O Racing Team + 1:01.146
11. Steven Johnson Ford Jim Beam Racing + 1:01.582
12. Tim Slade Ford Wilson Security Racing + 1:06.632
13. Alex Davison Ford IRWIN Racing + 1:10.225
14. Fabian Coulthard Holden Bundaberg Red Racing + 1:12.390
15. Rick Kelly Holden Jack Daniel’s Racing + 1:15.525
16. Jonathon Webb Ford Dick Johnson Racing + 1:15.809
17. Todd Kelly Holden Jack Daniel’s Racing + 1 lap
18. Will Davison Holden TOLL Holden Racing Team + 1 lap
19. Michael Caruso Holden Fujitsu Racing / GRM + 1 lap
20. Dean Fiore Ford Triple F Racing + 1 lap
21. Karl Reindler Holden Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing + 1 lap
22. Jason Bargwanna Holden ROCK Racing + 1 lap
23. Greg Murphy Holden Castrol Edge Racing + 1 lap
24. Cameron McConville Holden Gulf Western Oil Racing + 2 laps
25. Tony Ricciardello Holden Stratco Racing + 2 laps
26. Craig Lowndes Holden Team Vodafone + 11 laps
  Not Classified      
  Jason Bright Holden Trading Post Racing 44 laps
  Tony D’Alberto Holden Centaur Racing 31 laps
  Andrew Thompson Holden Bundaberg Red Racing 27 laps

[Original image via the Sydney Morning Herald]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.