Whincup led home a TeamVodafone 1-2 at Townsville

At the first ever race on the streets of Townville in 2009, Jamie Whincup won from ninth position. Yesterday’s race-winner lined on ninth place for today’s second and final race of the Sucrogen Townsville 400, and repeated the feat with another charging drive to hold off team-mate Craig Lowndes for victory.

It was all set for another closely-fought race after the earlier qualifying contest that netted David Reynolds his maiden pole position and the Ford Performance Racing team another 1-2-3 on the grid.

The youngster was able to convert pole into the race lead as the pack funnelled into Turn 1, and he clung on until the seventh lap, when he was overtaken by Tekno Autosport driver Jonathon Webb, who – along with James Courtney – was one of two drivers who opted to start the race on Dunlop’s soft-compound tyres.

Webb and Courtney had quickly managed to slice their way up the order and assumed an early 1-2 before the first round of pit stops. Ultimately the strategy wouldn’t quite pay off in the way that either had hoped, with both losing track position mid-race as their rivals switched to the softer rubber while, conversely, they had to use the harder tyres. Webb would finish a solid eighth, while Courtney would get involved in an unnecessary contact at Turn 2 and slipped with fifteenth.

Out at the front, it was Reynolds who led from team-mates Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison after the first round of pit stops, with the trio hotly pursued by TeamVodafone runners Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup, who had quietly worked his way up to fifth position.

The quintet was never more than a few tenths apart, and the order remained the same until Lowndes accidentally triggered his pit lane speed limiter, a momentary gaffe that allowed Whincup through into fourth place.

The second and final round of pit stops proved the decider. Lowndes and Winterbottom blinked first on Lap 42, with the former champion narrowly leapfrogging the Ford driver with some slick pit work.

One lap later, Reynolds led Davison and Whincup into the pits for some more fuel and tyres, but it was the polesitter who came off worst, emerging behind Whincup and Davison in the turnaround, which became fifth behind Winterbottom when they rejoined the circuit.

With Whincup and Lowndes now leading a TeamVodafone 1-2, the pair began to slowly pull clear while Winterbottom and Reynolds were held up behind Davison. With no team orders in either camp, it would up to the drivers to sort it out among themselves for top honours.

An extra moment of tension came with the introduction of a late safety car period – brought about by Fabian Coulthard stopping his Brad Jones Racing Holden in an awkward position on the track. The racing resumed with just ten laps left and the field nicely compressed.

Coulthard suffered this dramatic brake fireNo doubt seething from his earlier finger trouble, Lowndes was pushing hard and keen to claim a repeat of his win at Darwin where he overtook Whincup in the closing stages. Twice he managed to get by the defending champion, only for the wily Whincup to use the old ‘crossover’ trick and out-drag him at the corner exit. The pair came close to swapping paint, but Whincup ultimately prevailed to claim back-to-back wins and build a further cushion in his championship lead.

Tander finished an impressive fourthThird place went to Davison, while Garth Tander managed to scramble up into fourth place, benefitting from the field compression brought about by the safety car to get ahead of Reynolds and then Winterbottom in the final laps.

Reynolds would be disappointed with sixth place, while the top ten was completed by Shane van Gisbergen, Jonathon Webb, Michael Patrizi, and Jason Bright.

Jacques Villeneuve’s one-off V8 Supercars outing resulted in him managing to see the chequered flag, albeit in 24th place and a lap adrift after a fairly quiet run in the Pepsi Max Crew Holden.

The teams and drivers now have a four-week break until resuming the championship at Ipswich Raceway in early August.

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 1:33:49.2414
2. Craig Lowndes Holden Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing 72 + 1.8437
3. Will Davison Ford Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing 72 + 5.3649
4. Garth Tander Holden TOLL / Holden Racing Team 72 + 6.9949
5. Mark Winterbottom Ford Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing 72 + 8.1286
6. David Reynolds Ford The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash 72 + 8.4670
7. Shane van Gisbergen Ford SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing 72 + 11.4034
8. Jonathon Webb Holden Tekno Autosports 72 + 12.5865
9. Michael Patrizi Holden Tekno Autosports 72 + 13.2060
10. Jason Bright Holden Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing 72 + 13.5266
11. Steve Owen Ford VIP Petfoods / Dick Johnson Racing 72 + 14.3787
12. Tim Slade Ford Lucky 7 Racing / Stone Brothers Racing 72 + 14.6334
13. Steven Johnson Ford Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing 72 + 15.6934
14. Tony D’Alberto Ford HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing 72 + 16.0879
15. James Courtney Holden TOLL / Holden Racing Team 72 + 20.2601
16. Alexandre Prémat Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport 72 + 20.6962
17. Taz Douglas Holden Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport 72 + 21.5998
18. Dean Fiore Ford Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing 72 + 22.0601
19. David Wall Holden Wilson Security / Brad Jones Racing 72 + 22.9822
20. Rick Kelly Holden Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing 72 + 24.2475
21. Todd Kelly Holden Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing 72 + 25.0567
22. Karl Reindler Holden Fair Dinkum Sheds / Kelly Racing 72 + 26.4256
23. James Moffat Ford Team Norton / Dick Johnson Racing 72 + 26.8380
24. Jacques Villeneuve Holden Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing 71 + 1 lap
25. Michael Caruso Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport 66 + 6 laps
26. Lee Holdsworth Ford Irwin Racing / Stone Brothers Racing 62 + 10 laps
  Not Classified        
DNF. Fabian Coulthard Holden Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing 44 Mechanical
DNF. Russell Ingall Holden Supercheap Auto / Walkinshaw Racing 7 Damage

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

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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.