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||59:48.170|
|2.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 2.039|
|3.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 5.600|
|4.||Nick Percat||Walkinshaw Racing/ Holden Commodore VF||+ 6.569|
|5.||Shane van Gisbergen||TEKNO VIP Petfoods / Holden Commodore VF||+ 8.140|
|6.||Scott McLaughlin||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||+ 9.299|
|7.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Holden Commodore VF||+ 9.808|
|8.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 10.321|
|9.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Ford Falcon FG||+ 10.707|
|10.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||+ 11.773|
|11.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG||+ 13.981|
|12.||Scott Pye||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG||+ 16.273|
|13.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG||+ 17.241|
|14.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||+ 18.600|
|15.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 20.234|
|16.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG||+ 21.164|
|17.||Russell Ingall||Repair Management / Holden Commodore VF||+ 22.263|
|18.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||+ 22.824|
|19.||Robert Dahlgren||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||+ 24.100|
|20.||Dale Wood||Team ADVAM / Holden Commodore VF||+ 25.590|
|21.||James Moffat||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||+ 38.212|
|22.||Lee Holdsworth||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 41.045|
|DNF.||Jack Perkins||Jeld-Wen / Ford Falcon FG||30 laps|
|DNF.||Tim Slade||SuperCheap Auto Racing / Holden Commodore VF||28 laps|
|DNF.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||1 lap|
Image via Christian Hartung