Jamie Whincup has overcome a poor qualifying session to take advantage of an incident-filled opening V8 Supercars race in Townsville to claim victory and reduce the points gap to series leader Mark Winterbottom.

The all-HRT front row lasted all of a few seconds as Scott McLaughlin sliced his Volvo into the lead from the second row, courtesy of his fellow second-row starter Craig Lowndes trying to overtake both HRTs off the line; Lowndes succeeded in tapping Garth Tander into James Courtney. The series veteran saw his race fall to pieces when he tried to dive-bomb by Courtney, only to find himself hit up the rear by Will Davison’s Erebus AMG and sent into the fence.

Lowndes spent a period in the pits and rejoined the race in the hope of salvaging some points, but crashed heavily at Turn 5 after an apparent component failure, destroying the front end of his Red Bull Holden.

After 5 laps of this scheduled 44-lap battle, it was McLaughlin who led, followed closely by Tander and Jason Bright in the BOC Holden.

There was plenty of pushing a shoving during the race, and an incident between Cars 2 (Tander), 8 (Bright) and 97 (Shane van Gisbergen) could land them in some hot water with stewards confirming they would investigate the contact after the race. The chasing Tim Slade and David Reynolds were then off to the pits.

Lowndes’ crash triggered the first Safety Car interruption of the race, and when racing resumed it was Whincup who took the lead from McLaughlin.

By this stage, series leader Winterbottom had picked his way through to thirteenth position – hardly a flatting place given his recent form.

The incidents didn’t end there: Russell Ingall and Robert Dahlgren had minor contact while they scrapped over a lowly 19th place.

On Lap 19, Tander moved into third position by overtaking Davison.

Lap 31 proved disastrous for Jack Perkins. His JELD-WEN Ford was turned into the wall with some assistance from Todd Kelly’s Nissan.  The crash caused severe damage and also brought out a second Safety Car whilst the wrecked Ford was cleared away.

With less than 11 laps to go, Scott McLaughlin was forced to go defensive, but his efforts were in vain as Garth Tander got by for second.

With five laps to go, Whincup was enjoying a 2.5-second lead and looked set to have an unchallenged run to his sixth victory on the streets of Townsville. Tander finished in second, while Will Davison barged his way past McLaughlin in the final laps to snatch the final podium position. The Volvo was shuffled wide in the contact, falling to sixth as Nick Percat and Shane van Gisbergen took advantage to each gain a position.


2014 V8 Supercars Townsville 500 – Race 20 Results (43 laps):

Driver Team / Entry Result
1. Jamie Whincup Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF Holden 59:48.170
2. Garth Tander Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 2.039
3. Will Davison Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG AMG + 5.600
4. Nick Percat Walkinshaw Racing/ Holden Commodore VF Holden + 6.569
5. Shane van Gisbergen TEKNO VIP Petfoods / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 8.140
6. Scott McLaughlin Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60 Volvo + 9.299
7. Jason Bright Team BOC / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 9.808
8. James Courtney Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 10.321
9. David Reynolds The Bottle-O Racing Team / Ford Falcon FG Ford + 10.707
10. Michael Caruso Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima Nissan + 11.773
11. Mark Winterbottom Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG Ford + 13.981
12. Scott Pye Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG Ford + 16.273
13. Chaz Mostert Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG Ford + 17.241
14. Rick Kelly Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima Nissan + 18.600
15. Fabian Coulthard Lockwood Racing / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 20.234
16. David Wall Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG Ford + 21.164
17. Russell Ingall Repair Management / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 22.263
18. Todd Kelly Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima Nissan + 22.824
19. Robert Dahlgren Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60 Volvo + 24.100
20. Dale Wood Team ADVAM / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 25.590
21. James Moffat Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima Nissan + 38.212
22. Lee Holdsworth Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG AMG + 41.045
Not Classified
DNF. Jack Perkins Jeld-Wen / Ford Falcon FG Ford 30 laps
DNF. Tim Slade SuperCheap Auto Racing / Holden Commodore VF Holden 28 laps
DNF. Craig Lowndes Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF Holden 1 lap

Image via Christian Hartung

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