Jamie Whincup has extended his championship lead with another win

Jamie Whincup has eked out a small margin in his V8 Supercars championship lead by claiming his fourth win of the season in the first race of the Sucrogen Townsville 400.

The TeamVodafone driver narrowly held off a fast-closing Mark Winterbottom in what was a race of varying strategies and fuel management.

Starting from pole position, Winterbottom converted his top spot into an early lead, while behind him, it was a chaotic opening lap when Taz Douglas and Karl Reindler collided, while Dean Fiore joined the scene of the accident in sympathy.

With debris littering the circuit and all three drivers limping to the pits, the Safety Car as called while the mess was cleared up.

With some drivers starting on the harder Dunlop tyres while others stuck with the softer rubber for their opening stints, those on the soft tyres started to pick their way through the field.

Steve Owen and Garth Tander were two to do so, and quickly picked their way up the order once the racing resumed to assume a 1-2 by the end of just the thirteenth lap.

The first round of pit stops saw the TeamVodafone drivers of Whincup and Craig Lowndes switch to the softer rubber, which allowed them to get by Tander, who had now switched to the hard compound tyres.

Owen continued to remain out at the front behind Winterbottom, and it transpired that the Ford driver was using a mix of the soft and hard tyres at the same time – a loophole that series officials confirmed was perfectly legal.

The Safety Car made another appearance just before the midpoint of the race when Alexandre Prémat retired his GRM Holden on the circuit.

Owen was quickly passed by Whincup and Lowndes at the restart when he locked up, but the Safety Car was triggered a lap later when Jason Bright and Michael Caruso collided, which allowed the frontrunners a welcome chance to make their final pit stops.

Unfortunately this would be bad news for Lowndes and Winterbottom’s FPR team-mate Will Davison, who both had to queue in the pits behind their respective team-mates, which cost them a bundle of places.

Winterbottom and Whincup would continue their battle at the front of the field, but ‘Frosty’ grazed the wall two laps after the restart, an error which allowed Whincup to assume an effective lead he wouldn’t relinquish.

The remaining laps saw Whincup pull out a margin before Winterbottom started to come back to him in the closing laps, when the focus up and down the field shifted to one of fuel conservation.

Running on fumes, Whincup limped home in the final lap to win by just over a second, while Tander completed the podium ahead of the ever-consistent Fabian Coulthard.

Lowndes put on a charging display to climb up to fifth be the end of the race, while Will Davison’s fortunes were rather lacking, finishing twelfth.

2012 V8 Supercars Sucrogen Townsville 400 – Race 1 Result (72 laps):

Driver Entry / Team Laps Result
1. Jamie Whincup Holden Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing 72 1:36:36.6067
2. Mark Winterbottom Ford Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing 72 + 1.1504
3. Garth Tander Holden TOLL / Holden Racing Team 72 + 9.0783
4. Fabian Coulthard Holden Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing 72 + 13.9352
5. Craig Lowndes Holden Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing 72 + 15.9831
6. David Reynolds Ford The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash 72 + 24.0944
7. Steve Owen Ford VIP Petfoods / Dick Johnson Racing 72 + 25.3326
8. Rick Kelly Holden Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing 72 + 26.2152
9. Lee Holdsworth Ford Irwin Racing / Stone Brothers Racing 72 + 27.5602
10. James Courtney Holden TOLL / Holden Racing Team 72 + 33.9709
11. Russell Ingall Holden Supercheap Auto / Walkinshaw Racing 72 + 34.7180
12. Will Davison Ford Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing 72 + 37.7530
13. James Moffat Ford Team Norton / Dick Johnson Racing 72 + 39.7171
14. Michael Caruso Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport 72 + 39.8944
15. Todd Kelly Holden Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing 72 + 51.2934
16. Michael Patrizi Holden Tekno Autosports 72 + 58.9084
17. Steven Johnson Ford Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing 72 + 59.2955
18. Tony D’Alberto Ford HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing 72 + 1:09.5269
19. Jonathon Webb Holden Tekno Autosports 71 + 1 lap
20. David Wall Holden Wilson Security / Brad Jones Racing 71 + 1 lap
21. Tim Slade Ford Lucky 7 Racing / Stone Brothers Racing 71 + 1 lap
22. Shane van Gisbergen Ford SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing 71 + 1 lap
23. Taz Douglas Holden Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport 69 + 3 laps
24. Dean Fiore Ford Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing 66 + 6 laps
25. Karl Reindler Holden Fair Dinkum Sheds / Kelly Racing 60 + 12 laps
  Not Classified        
DNF. Jason Bright Holden Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing 38 38 laps
DNF. Alexandre Prémat Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport 30 30 laps
DNF. Jacques Villeneuve Holden Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing 18 18 laps

A double-billing of F1 and V8s at Abu Dhabi!

The following two tabs change content below.

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.