Jamie Whincup has notched up another victory in an ever-improving defence of his V8 Supercars Championship title, beating home Red Bull Racing teammate Craig Lowndes and the Volvo of Scott McLaughlin in the opening sprint race at Queensland Raceway.
The two Red Bull Holdens were off to a flying start from the off, but it was polesitter Lowndes to led early on.
There was action on the opening lap as Jack Perkins ran wide at Turn 5, killing off the youngster’s hopes of a top-ten finish in his underwhelming comeback to the championship.
Shane van Gisbergen found his Tekno Holden struggling with massive understeer en route to an eventual tenth-placed finish; fellow Kiwi Fabian Coulthard finished six spots ahead, but had to save fuel early on after his Brad Jones Racing crew realised they’d under-filled his Holden.
After ten laps the top-three remained as they were, while overtaking and wheel-to-wheel racing continued behind. Jason Bright overtook Robert Dahlgren’s Volvo for sixteenth place. Lee Holdsworth gained six places in his Erebus AMG, while Garth Tander was also on the move, improving five spots from his lowly starting position.
Just past half-distance and Lowndes was still out inf front, although his advantage over Whincup was diminishing as rapidly as his tyre life. A slight mistake exiting the final corner was all the invitation Whincup needed to get by, but Lowndes was back ahead at Turn 2. The pair ran side-by-side along the back straight, with Whincup sealing the deal by repassing Lowndes under braking at Turn 3.
Whincup steadily pulled away from Lowndes and McLaughlin, while focus switched to the Nissans of Todd Kelly and James Moffat, who both suffered tyre failures in the closing laps.
The end of the 33-lap race saw Whincup claim victory with a margin of over four seconds to Lowndes, and with championship leader Mark Winterbottom finishing sixth, the battle for the points lead between the two has been further trimmed.
With Whincup set to start third for today’s second Sprint Race, another win is in sight for the exceptional Red Bull Racing driver.
2014 V8 Supercars Ipswich 400 – Race 23 Results (33 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||39:15.702|
|2.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 4.636|
|3.||Scott McLaughlin||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||+ 7.963|
|4.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 12.218|
|5.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 14.917|
|6.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG||+ 15.045|
|7.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 15.165|
|8.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 18.910|
|9.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Ford Falcon FG||+ 21.708|
|10.||Shane van Gisbergen||TEKNO VIP Petfoods / Holden Commodore VF||+ 22.839|
|11.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||+ 23.147|
|12.||Nick Percat||Walkinshaw Racing/ Holden Commodore VF||+ 24.442|
|13.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||+ 25.486|
|14.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG||+ 26.411|
|15.||Tim Slade||SuperCheap Auto Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 26.414|
|16.||Scott Pye||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG||+ 26.680|
|17.||Lee Holdsworth||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 26.846|
|18.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Holden Commodore VF||+ 27.169|
|19.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG||+ 30.465|
|20.||Russell Ingall||Repair Management / Holden Commodore VF||+ 31.680|
|21.||Jack Perkins||Jeld-Wen / Ford Falcon FG||+ 32.605|
|22.||Dale Wood||Team ADVAM / Holden Commodore VF||+ 38.804|
|23.||Robert Dahlgren||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||+ 39.907|
|24.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||– 2 laps|
|DNF.||James Moffat||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||30 laps|
Image via Christian Hartung