Defending series champion Jamie Whincup has regained a narrow lead in the V8 Supercars standings with a win in today’s opening race of the SkyCity Triple Crown at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway.
Whincup’s win broke a seven-race-long winning strike held by the Ford Performance Racing team.
This was despite the TeamVodafone driver making a poor getaway in his Holden Commodore, falling from third to fifth on the opening lap. Nonetheless, he was able to pick his way through to the front of the field – passing David Reynolds for the lead on Lap 20 – before making his one and only pit stop during the 42-lap race.
Having made the required switched to Dunlop’s softer tyre, Whincup managed his tyre wear for the remaining 19 laps to win by just over five seconds from pole-sitter Will Davison and his Ford Performance Racing team-mate Mark Winterbottom. While both FPR drivers ran the same hard-soft tyre strategy as Whincup, neither had quite the pace over each stint to mount a challenge to Whincup.
It was a largely incident-free race, save for a multi-car tangle on the third lap that brought out the Safety Car. This was triggered by Tony D’Alberto spinning Michael Caruso around at Turn 6 on the third lap of the race, tipping the GRM Holden driver into a nose-to-nose collision with Kelly Racing’s stand-in driver David Russell.
Craig Lowndes’ poor qualifying performance put him vulnerable to this very sort of melee, and the former champion was also turned around in the contact, giving him an even steeper mountain to climb to get a decent result.
But it was to Lowndes’ credit that he knuckled down and drove a sensational race on a two-stop strategy to charge through the field and finish fourth. He finished ahead of David Reynolds, Tim Slade, Shane van Gisbergen, Garth Tander, Jonathon Webb and Lee Holdsworth, who rounded out the top ten.
2012 V8 Supercars SkyCity Triple Crown Darwin – Race 1 Result (42 laps):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Laps||Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||42||52:26.0743|
|2.||Will Davison||Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing||42||+ 5.8763|
|3.||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing||42||+ 6.6733|
|4.||Craig Lowndes||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||42||+ 8.8248|
|5.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash||42||+ 17.1312|
|6.||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 Racing / Stone Brothers Racing||42||+ 19.7350|
|7.||Shane van Gisbergen||SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing||42||+ 23.3114|
|8.||Garth Tander||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||42||+ 25.5085|
|9.||Jonathon Webb||Tekno Autosports||42||+ 30.4443|
|10.||Lee Holdsworth||Irwin Racing / Stone Brothers Racing||42||+ 31.2394|
|11.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||42||+ 39.1578|
|12.||James Courtney||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||42||+ 40.5351|
|13.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||42||+ 43.1579|
|14.||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods / Dick Johnson Racing||42||+ 47.8249|
|15.||Tony D’Alberto||HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing||42||+ 49.1750|
|16.||Michael Patrizi||Tekno Autosports||42||+ 49.1990|
|17.||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds / Kelly Racing||42||+ 56.9897|
|18.||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||42||+ 1:06.2921|
|19.||Dean Fiore||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||42||+ 1:07.7022|
|20.||David Wall||Wilson Security / Brad Jones Racing||42||+ 1:08.4552|
|21.||James Moffat||Team Norton / Dick Johnson Racing||42||+ 1:12.5011|
|22.||Alexandre Prémat||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||41||+ 1 lap|
|23.||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto / Walkinshaw Racing||41||+ 1 lap|
|24.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing||38||+ 4 laps|
|DNF.||Taz Douglas||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||25||25 laps|
|DNF.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||9||9 laps|
|DNF.||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||3||3 laps|
|DNF.||David Russell||Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing||2||2 laps|
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