The 70 lap, 200km Sucrogen Townsville 400 granted Pepsi Max Crew Will Davison’s first Townsville victory on on Saturday, converting his front line qualifying performance into a top podium position. The biggest shock of the day however, was Red Bull Racing’s absence in the top ten!
It was a good day for the competition and a strange one for the front runners, with both Red Bull Racing drivers under performing. Jamie Whincup, who has enjoyed a win every weekend since the race’s inception started in 16th and his team mate Craig Lowndes started in 12th.
Lowndes managed a fourth position, behind Winterbottom and Fabian Coulthard in second and third respectively.
The rest of the top ten: Bright in fifth, Courtney, then Whincup, Tander, Alex Davison and David Reynolds. New comer Scott McLaughlin came in 14th after starting in seventh position.
Ford Pepsi Max Crew’s Davison and Winterbottom have now narrowed the leads of the RBR cars slightly, but this race result has also given them an indication as to the superior abilities of their cars during the longer races – an advantage they will likely exploit in the endurance races.
Winner Will Davison was understandably quite happy with the result.
"I don’t know how to say it but it’s really good seeing those guys have a bad day, particularly in qualifying. It’s hard to think about the Championship right now but we have got to stay in a good position," Davison said.
"We have just got to keep it going. If we can keep this improvement up and I can do a better endurance race than I did last year, you never know what might happen come December.
"I’ve been looking forward to this and it was a good race. We have showed lately we are on the up and every circuit is different. Absolutely come endurance time we are very confident.
"It’s good to be a part of this, really good. I’m proud to be part of the team."
Craig Lowndes was the only driver on the grid to start on the soft tyres and this helped him significantly in regaining crucial positions from his unusually low 12th qualifying position. He took the race lead after nine laps from Shane van Gisbergen, who was leading until he was given a drive through penalty for a mistake during his pit stop; the team dropped the car with the refuelling hose still attached. From there, the pole sitter was only able to finish in 17th.
Lowndes regained the lead later in the race but the harder tyres meant he was unable to hold onto the position.
"We had to do something different. We opted for softs early and had a great start,” Lowndes said. "But the hards went away faster than I thought.”
Lowndes now trails Whincup by 135 points in the series.
The Championship leader Jamie Whincup said he was just happy to have made up those nine spots and noted that the car was significantly better on the soft tyres.
“Given we started 16th, it was always going to be a tough day,” he said.
“We got a clean run, but on the hards we just couldn’t do anything. But on the softs, the car is miles better. We have struggled all weekend on hards, we qualified poorly on hards and struggled in the race. Then we put the softs on and they transformed the car. It just shows how important set-up is. I’ve got the best prepared, best built, fastest car out there but if you don’t get the set-up right you’re mid-pack."
“Plan is now to work on the set-up some more and hopefully qualify better.”
It was also a safety-car-free race, which is odd as historically, 75% of the races at Townsville have seen the emergence of the Safety car.
Qualifying for Race 21 is at 12.45pm AEST today, and is followed by Race 21 at 3.35pm. Stay tuned!
2013 V8 Supercars Townsville 400 – Race 1 Final Classification (70 laps):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Result|
|1.||Will Davison||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||1:28:39.5967|
|2.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 4.0098|
|3.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 15.4676|
|4.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||+ 17.7900|
|5.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||+ 19.3146|
|6.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 26.0621|
|7.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||+ 30.0030|
|8.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 32.3723|
|9.||Alex Davison||Jeld-Wen Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 32.8526|
|10.||Chaz Mostert||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 37.7396|
|11.||David Reynolds||Bottle-O Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 37.9883|
|12.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 48.7333|
|13.||Alexandre Prémat||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 50.5833|
|14.||Scott McLaughlin||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 51.6149|
|15.||James Moffat||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 58.0553|
|16.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 1:02.1387|
|17.||Shane van Gisbergen||VIP Petfoods / Tekno Autosports||+ 1:03.1460|
|18.||Michael Caruso||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 1:08.3989|
|19.||Maro Engel||SP Tools Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 1:12.0293|
|20.||Dean Fiore||Dodo Insurance / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 1 lap|
|21.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 2 laps|
|22.||Jonathon Webb||Darrell Lea Racing / Tekno Autosports||+ 2 laps|
|23.||Tim Blanchard||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 2 laps|
|24.||Scott Pye||EKOL Racing / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 2 laps|
|25.||Tony D’Alberto||HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 4 laps|
|DNF.||Russell Ingall||SuperCheap Auto Racing / TWR||53 laps|
|DNF.||Lee Holdsworth||IRWIN Racing / Erebus Motorsport||52 laps|
|DNF.||Tim Slade||Heavy Haulage Racing / Erebus Motorsport||34 laps|