Jamie Whincup has claimed victory - and the championship lead - at Darwin

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 Holden Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing 42 52:26.0743
2. Will Davison Ford Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing 42 + 5.8763
3. Mark Winterbottom Ford Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing 42 + 6.6733
4. Craig Lowndes Holden Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing 42 + 8.8248
5. David Reynolds Ford The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash 42 + 17.1312
6. Tim Slade Ford Lucky 7 Racing / Stone Brothers Racing 42 + 19.7350
7. Shane van Gisbergen Ford SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing 42 + 23.3114
8. Garth Tander Holden TOLL / Holden Racing Team 42 + 25.5085
9. Jonathon Webb Holden Tekno Autosports 42 + 30.4443
10. Lee Holdsworth Ford Irwin Racing / Stone Brothers Racing 42 + 31.2394
11. Todd Kelly Holden Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing 42 + 39.1578
12. James Courtney Holden TOLL / Holden Racing Team 42 + 40.5351
13. Jason Bright Holden Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing 42 + 43.1579
14. Steve Owen Ford VIP Petfoods / Dick Johnson Racing 42 + 47.8249
15. Tony D’Alberto Ford HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing 42 + 49.1750
16. Michael Patrizi Holden Tekno Autosports 42 + 49.1990
17. Karl Reindler Holden Fair Dinkum Sheds / Kelly Racing 42 + 56.9897
18. Steven Johnson Ford Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing 42 + 1:06.2921
19. Dean Fiore Ford Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing 42 + 1:07.7022
20. David Wall Holden Wilson Security / Brad Jones Racing 42 + 1:08.4552
21. James Moffat Ford Team Norton / Dick Johnson Racing 42 + 1:12.5011
22. Alexandre Prémat Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport 41 + 1 lap
23. Russell Ingall Holden Supercheap Auto / Walkinshaw Racing 41 + 1 lap
24. Fabian Coulthard Holden Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing 38 + 4 laps
  Not Classified        
DNF. Taz Douglas Holden Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport 25 25 laps
DNF. Rick Kelly Holden Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing 9 9 laps
DNF. Michael Caruso Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport 3 3 laps
DNF. David Russell Holden Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing 2 2 laps

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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.