Jamie Whincup has further narrows the gap to series leader Mark Winterbottom after claiming victory in Sunday’s feature race at Townsville, his seventh on the streets of the Queensland city.
Starting from the front row of the grid for today’s 88-lap race, Whincup challenged pole-sitter Jason Bright for the lead on the sprint through the Turn 1 kink and under braking for Turn 2. While Bright managed to fend Whincup off, the was carnage further behind as Jack Perkins and Dale Wood tangled at Turn 1 and were instantly eliminated from the rest of the race.
The Safety Car was called immediately, prompting much of the field to pour into the pits to get one of two scheduled visits to the pits out of the way. Bright hit pit lane while Whincup elected to stay out. It was a risky strategy, although his task was made easier by Bright earning a drive-through penalty for spinning his wheels while his car was on its jacks.
Championship leader Mark Winterbottom lost out in the pits, double-stacking behind FPR teammate Chaz Mostert and rejoining at the very rear of the field.
Whincup’s strategy meant he would have to push hard to gap the field in his opening two stints in order to put himself in the best position for the final sprint to the chequered flag.
Scott McLaughlin was another to delay pitting; he ran til mid-distance before finally visiting his Volvo pit crew. Craig Lowndes’ disastrous weekend continued; his engine was overheating and losing fluid, forcing him to the pits eight times en route to finishing in last place.
With 26 laps to go, Mostert was now in front, chased by Tander, Whincup, James Courtney, Nick Percat, Michael Caruso, Shane van Gisbergen, Mark Winterbottom, Scott Pye, and McLaughlin rounding out the top ten.
With less than 20 laps to go, Whincup set himself up for the win by overtaking Tander’s HRT Holden, taking full advantage of his fresher tyres to force his way by. The pair were chased hard by a fast-closing Shane van Gisbergen, who ran a three-stop strategy that forced him to be aggressive in coming through the field. James Courtney and Nick Percat shadowed the Kiwi over the finish line.
Mark Winterbottom limited the damage to cross the finish line in sixth place, but finishing behind Whincup meant that his lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings was now trimmed to 96 points. Lowndes’ disastrous weekend pushed him down to sixth, slipping behind Fabian Coulthard, Shane van Gisbergen and James Courtney.
Townsville once again presented a fantastic weekend with action-packed racing in all three hit-outs. The V8s now head off to Ipswich for the Coates Hire Ipswich 400 on 2-3 August.
2014 V8 Supercars Townsville 500 – Race 22 Results (88 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||1:54:24.258|
|2.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 0.961|
|3.||Shane van Gisbergen||TEKNO VIP Petfoods / Holden Commodore VF||+ 19.994|
|4.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 20.336|
|5.||Nick Percat||Walkinshaw Racing/ Holden Commodore VF||+ 21.042|
|6.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG||+ 26.915|
|7.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG||+ 27.500|
|8.||Scott Pye||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG||+ 30.681|
|9.||Scott McLaughlin||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||+ 36.741|
|10.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 38.409|
|11.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||+ 38.517|
|12.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Ford Falcon FG||+ 44.937|
|13.||Tim Slade||SuperCheap Auto Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 50.983|
|14.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 51.395|
|15.||Lee Holdsworth||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 51.999|
|16.||James Moffat||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||+ 52.319|
|17.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Holden Commodore VF||+ 56.178|
|18.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||+ 1:03.430|
|19.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||– 1 lap|
|20.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG||– 1 lap|
|21.||Russell Ingall||Repair Management / Holden Commodore VF||– 1 lap|
|22.||Robert Dahlgren||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||– 1 lap|
|23.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||– 8 laps|
|DNF.||Jack Perkins||Jeld-Wen / Ford Falcon FG||0 laps|
|DNF.||Dale Wood||Team ADVAM / Holden Commodore VF||0 laps|
Image via Christian Hartung