Jamie Whincup has further extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings with victory in the final sprint race at Phillip Island.
The result sets up a thrilling showdown between he and Red Bull Racing Australia teammate Craig Lowndes at next fortnight’s Sydney 500 finale.
Whincup’s victory came off the back of an outstanding sequence of laps and overtaking moves at the start of the 23-lap race. The defending champion moved from fifth to first in the space of the first two laps, carving his way by Fabian Coulthard, Jason Bright, Mark Winterbottom and Lowndes in rapid succession.
Lowndes held the lead for the first lap-and-a-half, but was clearly struggling with rear tyre grip and surrendered the lead to Whincup at Turn 3 on Lap 2, losing second place to Winterbottom a lap later.
The top-three ran in that order for the remainder of the race, although there was the potential to reshuffle this order courtesy of two Safety Car interruptions, but Whincup managed each restart to perfection to keep an urgent Winterbottom at bay, while Lowndes slipped back to finish over twenty seconds adrift in third, fighting off Jason Bright in the final laps.
The first full-course caution was triggered by Lee Holdsworth shedding a left-front wheel at Lukey Heights. The errant wheel was sent skating across the circuit infield and back on the track, only to be collected by a hapless Jonathon Webb. Then then sent it bouncing through the gravel before it launched over the spectator fencing – fortunately it avoided any spectators, but two fans’ parked cars were damaged.
The race was restarted but almost immediately put into caution again, this time when David Reynolds tipped Chaz Mostert into a spin at the Turn 4 hairpin; Mostert’s Ford was hit side-on by Russell Ingall, which led to the instant retirement for both.
Behind the top-four, Will Davison, James Moffat, Rick Kelly, Alex Davison and Shane van Gisbergen completed the top ten finishers.
Whincup’s second finish in front of Lowndes this weekend has now given him a 20-point lead over Lowndes, while Winterbottom is 105 points further adrift in third. Will Davison also remains mathematically in contention for overall championship honours, but he sits 223 points behind Whincup with a maximum of 300 points up for grabs in Sydney.
2013 V8 Supercars Phillip Island 360 – Race 3 Final Classification (23 laps):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||42:22.900|
|2.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.885|
|3.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||+ 21.753|
|4.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||+ 22.244|
|5.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 23.202|
|6.||Will Davison||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 25.033|
|7.||James Moffat||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 27.892|
|8.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 28.912|
|9.||Alex Davison||Jeld-Wen Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 33.302|
|10.||Shane van Gisbergen||VIP Petfoods / Tekno Autosports||+ 30.510|
|11.||Scott McLaughlin||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 31.133|
|12.||David Reynolds||Bottle-O Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 31.669|
|13.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 32.110|
|14.||Scott Pye||EKOL Racing / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 32.576|
|15.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 33.171|
|16.||Tim Blanchard||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 33.388|
|17.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 34.084|
|18.||Dean Fiore||Dodo Insurance / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 35.294|
|19.||Maro Engel||SP Tools Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 36.658|
|20.||Tim Slade||Heavy Haulage Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 48.223|
|DNF.||Michael Caruso||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||21 laps|
|DNF.||Russell Ingall||SuperCheap Auto Racing / TWR||14 laps|
|DNF.||Chaz Mostert||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||14 laps|
|DNF.||Jonathon Webb||Darrell Lea Racing / Tekno Autosports||12 laps|
|DNF.||Tony D’Alberto||HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing||11 laps|
|DNF.||Lee Holdsworth||IRWIN Racing / Erebus Motorsport||9 laps|
|WD.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / TWR||Withdrawn|
|WD.||Alexandre Prémat||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||Withdrawn|
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