Team Vodafone driver Jamie Whincup has claimed victory in a rain-hit second race of the V8 Supercars Championship’ iconic Clipsal 500 round, with the result ensuring the former series champion extends his current lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
The win is Whincup’s sixth on the streets of Adelaide – although his first in Holden machinery – since his series debut in 2006, and the race was a thrilling one, with him taking a slender win ahead of Ricky Kelly (Jack Daniel’s Racing) and Mark Winterbottom (Ford Performance Racing).
In front of a huge crowd of 81,000 race-day fans, Whincup started on the front row alongside FPR’s Will Davison although dropped behind the fast-starting Lee Holdsworth as the lights went green.
The slippery track surface saw some move up the order while others fell down, and Whincup was quickly able to recover the lost ground and challenge Davison for the lead. The two would swap places several times, until Whincup made a mistake at Turn 11 and dropped behind James Courtney.
Courtney assumed the lead from Davison on lap 23. During the first of pit stops, Davison lost further ground with a late call to stay on wet tyres, while conversely Holdsworth took the gamble to move to slick tyres, figuring the track was drying enough.
His hypothesis was proven wrong when he hit the wall just a few laps later, bringing out the first safety car.
Rick Kelly took advantage of the full-course caution to pit and he now lead from Courtney, and the defending champion dropped to third behind Jonathon Webb at the restart.
Then on lap 35, Jason Bright ended a bad day for Team BOC – team-mate Jason Bargwanna had retired after a lap when he was rear-ended by Todd Kelly – when he hit the wall at Turn 2 and scattered bits of his Holden across the width of the track.
Another safety car was called, but this didn’t help Craig Lowndes, who dropped from fifth to 22nd when he picked up a puncture and had to pit.
Kelly continued to hold his lead after the second restart, while Whincup set about climbing back up the order, passing Courtney for third and then taking second place from Webb.
Whincup took the race lead from Kelly on lap 44, a position he would hold until the end of the race.
The third safety car interruption – on lap 50 to retrieve Warren Luff’s car – was perfectly timed for everyone’s second pit stop, with the entire field switching to dry tyres with the last moisture having all but gone from the racing line. The pit stop action saw a scary moment for Craig Lowndes and a pit lane marshal, with the Team Vodafone driver tapped into a spin at the exit of pit lane after he was unsafely released by his pit crew into the path of Greg Murphy. Lowndes was handed a drive-through penalty for his troubles.
Winterbottom passes Courtney for third to become the highest-placed Ford driver, and he was involved in a great scrap with Kelly for second place, although the Jack Daniel’s driver would prevail in the end.
Paul Dumbrell looked like a candidate for a fourth-placed finish, but he made a mistake at Turn 4 and dropped by the HRT duo of Courtney and yesterday’s Race 1 winner, Garth Tander, forcing him to settle for sixth place.
The victory for Whincup now sees his championship lead extended to 144 points over Mark Winterbottom, while Garth Tander is a further 60 points adrift in third place.
The V8 Supercars head to Albert Park for next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, where they will run three non-championship races in support of the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
V8 Supercars Clipsal 500 Final Classification (Race 2 – 77 laps):
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Team Vodafone||2:08:50.3685|
|2.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing||+ 1.3206|
|3.||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel FPR||+ 2.1239|
|4.||James Courtney||TOLL Holden Racing Team||+ 6.0891|
|5.||Garth Tander||TOLL Holden Racing Team||+ 8.2857|
|6.||Paul Dumbrell||The Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 9.1218|
|7.||Will Davison||Trading Post FPR||+ 9.8217|
|8.||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing||+ 13.1748|
|9.||Fabian Coulthard||Bundaberg Racing||+ 15.1788|
|10.||Alex Davison||Irwin Racing||+ 16.5996|
|11.||Jonathon Webb||Mother Energy Racing Team||+ 19.6104|
|12.||Craig Lowndes||Team Vodafone||+ 28.1154|
|13.||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 Racing||+ 30.3988|
|14.||David Reynolds||Stratco Racing||+ 32.3736|
|15.||Dean Fiore||Triple F Racing||+ 36.6389|
|16.||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto Racing||+ 48.5751|
|17.||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||+ 51.8557|
|18.||Shane van Gisbergen||SP Tool Racing FPR||+ 1:06.7221|
|19.||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew||+ 1:11.8649|
|20.||Tony D’Alberto||Wilson Security Racing||+ 1 lap|
|21.||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing GRM||+ 1 lap|
|22.||James Moffat||Jim Beam Racing||+ 14 laps|
|23.||Jason Bright||Team BOC||+ 18 laps|
|Warren Luff||Gulf Western Oil Racing||59 laps|
|Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing||33 laps|
|Lee Holdsworth||Fujitsu Racing GRM||27 laps|
|Jason Bargwanna||Team BOC||1 lap|
|NP||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods||Withdrew|