Jamie Whincup notched up his seventh win of the season, while polesitter David Reynolds had a fraught race

V8 Supercars championship leader Jamie Whincup took victory in the opening race of the SkyCity Triple Crown at Hidden Valley this afternoon. The Red Bull Racing Australia pilot passed David Reynolds on the opening lap of the second sixty-kilometre leg of Race 17, and never looked back to take his seventh win of the season.

In a typically calculated race for the reigning title-winner, Whincup led when it counted and consequently continued what has become an extremely impressive 2013 campaign.

Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen made a late charge for victory in the closing laps, however it was too little too late for the Tekno Autosport pilot, who eventually finished second. Van Gisbergen showed impressive race-craft after qualifying back in eighth, finishing only three-tenths off Whincup at the chequered flag.

James Courtney managed to avoid sustaining heavy damage throughout the second leg of the race, and rounded out the podium in one of HRT’s best results thus far in 2013. He was followed home by Jonathon Webb in the second Tekno Autosport entry, who took fourth in a stellar drive from sixteenth on the grid. Rick Kelly completed the top 5 in the best result to date for the factory Nissan outfit.

The opening 60 kilometre leg of the race saw Jamie Whincup jump pole-sitter David Reynolds off the line, and lead the field into the first corner. However, the reigning champion’s stint at the front was short-lived, as a fired-up Reynolds capitalised on the smallest mistake from Whincup at Turn 6 to reclaim the ascendency early in the race.

Meanwhile, drama was everywhere in the mid-pack, as Rick Kelly’s Nissan Altima splattered oil all over the road, while the Erebus duo of Tim Slade and Lee Holdsworth struck trouble after Slade received a tap from Jonathon Webb. The Kiwi duo of Fabian Coulthard and Shane van Gisbergen also traded paint during the opening leg, however thankfully for the championship contenders, both were able to keep their Commodores pointing in the right direction.

Reynolds took the chequered flag at the mid-race break, and looked set to claim his first victory in Australia’s top tier category. However, the 27 year old had a second segment of the race that he would surely like to forget. The Bottle-O Racing pilot first lost the lead to Jamie Whincup on the opening lap, then allowed the reigning champion to streak away after an early restart, and was later collected by a sliding Mark Winterbottom under braking into Turn 6.

Davison was forced to retire with damage after being tapped into a spin by LowndesThe second leg of the race saw plenty of other carnage throughout the 28-car field.

Lowndes locked his brakes into the famous Turn 6 on the opening lap and tagged Will Davison, which drew attention from the stewards and triggered total chaos as drivers desperately attempted to avoid Davison’s spinning FPR Falcon, who would eventually retire from the race.

Garth Tander’s HRT Commodore also sustained heavy damage as a result of Lowndes’ mistake, which left bodywork strewn all over the track on the exit of the corner.

Slade achieved the best result for Erebus Motorsport in 2013 after a roller coaster 120 kilometre sprint. The New South Welshman qualified 13th, however he was quickly relegated to the back of the pack after contact with Jonathon Webb at Turn 5 in the Slade finished sixth to claim the Erebus Motorsport team's best finish to-dateopening stages. But the youngster kept his nose clean in the second leg of the race, and brought home his E-Class Mercedes home sixth in a very respectable result for the team. He was followed home by Chaz Mostert in seventh for DJR in a career-best result for the rookie. Jason Bright, Tony D’Alberto and Michael Caruso rounded out the top 10 respectively.

Of the front runners who were involved in the calamities, David Reynolds crossed the line a disappointing 14th after looking almost certain to stand on the podium for the first time since last year’s Bathurst 1000. Garth Tander nursed his wounded HRT Commodore to 13th, while Craig Lowndes was the final car to cross the line in 26th. Will Davison was eventually garaged after suffering damage from the Lowndes incident, and will no doubt feel extremely frustrated with two consecutive DNFs to his name.

Mark Winterbottom, arguably piloting the fastest car on the grid, ended up in 22nd position. The FPR driver looked extremely dejected after the race, mentioning that he felt gutted for the team after squandering a potential podium finish for himself and his teammate Reynolds. It was the second time the 32-year-old has collected a car under heavy braking this season, with an incident of similar nature occurring at Pukekohe while fighting with Jamie Whincup for the race lead.

As a result of the shook-up field, Whincup has extended his championship lead to 224 points ahead of Red Bull Racing stablemate Craig Lowndes. BJR’s Jason Bright has nudged Will Davison from third position in the championship by a single point after Davison’s non-finish today.

Races 18 and 19 of the season will take place tomorrow afternoon. Both will feature a 15-minute qualifying session to determine the grid. The cars hit the track at 9.55 Central Standard Time for Race 18 qualifying.

2013 V8 Supercars SkyCity Triple Crown – Race 1 Final Classification (42 laps):

Driver Entry / Team Result
1. Jamie Whincup Holden Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering 1:18:55.3670
2. Shane van Gisbergen Holden VIP Petfoods / Tekno Autosports + 0.3434
3. James Courtney Holden Holden Racing Team / TWR + 3.6843
4. Jonathon Webb Holden Darrell Lea Racing / Tekno Autosports + 4.9934
5. Rick Kelly Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 8.4167
6. Tim Slade AMG Heavy Haulage Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 8.9890
7. Chaz Mostert Ford Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing + 10.5124
8. Jason Bright Holden Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing + 12.8566
9. Tony D’Alberto Holden HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing + 13.1330
10. Michael Caruso Nissan Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 13.4940
11. Scott McLaughlin Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport + 13.7385
12. Fabian Coulthard Holden Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing + 14.6833
13. Garth Tander Holden Holden Racing Team / TWR + 19.0476
14. David Reynolds Ford Bottle-O Racing / Ford Performance Racing + 19.9445
15. James Moffat Nissan Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 20.4484
16. Maro Engel AMG SP Tools Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 21.4035
17. Todd Kelly Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 21.7736
18. Lee Holdsworth AMG IRWIN Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 24.7940
19. David Wall Holden Wilson Security Racing / Brad Jones Racing + 25.0960
20. Alex Davison Ford Jeld-Wen Racing / Ford Performance Racing + 26.4943
21. Alexandre Prémat Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport + 28.2080
22. Mark Winterbottom Ford Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing + 35.1227
23. Russell Ingall Holden SuperCheap Auto Racing / TWR + 37.2030
24. Dean Fiore Holden Dodo Insurance / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport + 38.9616
25. Scott Pye Holden EKOL Racing / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport + 39.8044
26. Craig Lowndes Holden Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering + 42.6020
Not Classified    
DNF. Will Davison Ford Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing 29 laps
DNF. Tim Blanchard Ford Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing 21 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.