Reigning V8 Supercars Championship leader Jamie Whincup has moved one step closer to claiming his sixth Australian touring car championship title with victory for he and co-driver Paul Dumbrell in Sunday’s closing race of the Gold Coast 600.
The pair also claimed the coveted Pirtek Enduro Cup title in the process, having accumulated the most points across all three endurance rounds of the 2014 season.
With virtually all of the field’s co-drivers starting the race, Dumbrell slotted in behind the pole-winning #33 Volvo S60 being driven by Scott McLaughlin’s co-driver, Alexandre Prémat, before nipping ahead of the Frenchman a few laps into the race.
While Dumbrell steadily eased away into a lead that would be crucial to his and Whincup’s eventual success, Prémat was left to fend off the advances of TEKNO Autosports owner/driver Jonathon Webb, sharing driving duties with series regular Shane van Gisbergen. Webb eventually managed to get ahead of Prémat as both headed into the pits to swap with their respective lead drivers; but it was the Volvo crew who were fractionally quicker in turning their car around in the pits.
McLaughlin emerged from pit lane just inches ahead of van Gisbergen, but his advantage lasted mere seconds before van Gisbergen tried to dive by with an aggressive move at Turn 4. Van Gisbergen’s Holden nudged the back of McLaughlin’s car, which was enough to unsettle the Volvo and ensure Saturday’s race-winner was able to get by before the beachside chicane.
The stewards, however, had other ideas and ruled that van Gisbergen needed to hand the place back, which he duly did at the same point that Dale Wood brought his Holden to a stop on the track with an engine failure. The Safety Car was called, compressing Whincup’s lead and leaving the reigning champion with it all to do again when the green flags came out.
The Red Bull driver held the chasing pack right onto the start/finish straight before putting his foot down, while van Gisbergen jumped the gun too early in overtaking McLaughlin before the control line and was subsequently handed a drive-through penalty that dropped him to 19th. That the Kiwi was able to fight his way back to an eventual fifth place was a credit to his aggressive driving.
McLaughlin soldiered on to finish second, ultimately unable to claw back the gap to Whincup while having to fend off the attentions of a hard-charging Michael Caruso in the #36 Norton Nissan. Perhaps mindful of his tangle with McLaughlin while battling for the lead at Queensland Raceway earlier this year, Caruso was a little more circumspect this time around, but third place for he and co-driver Dean Fiore was still a fine effort.
Time Slade and co-driver Tony D’Alberto finished fourth in their TWR SuperCheap Auto Racing Holden, backing up the podium-winning result the pair achieved on Saturday.
David Reynolds and his co-pilot Dean Canto finished sixth and the best-placed of the Fords, while the top ten was completed by Fabian Coulthard / Luke Youlden (BJR Holden), Russell Ingall / Tim Blanchard (LDM Holden), Rick Kelly / David Russell (Nissan) and Nick Percat / Oliver Gavin (TWR Holden).
The bumpy circuit and close confines of the cement barriers took their toll on a number of runners, and there were several crashes as a result of driver errors. Craig Baird found himself heading to an early retirement after his Erebus Motorsport AMG was punted into the wall by Robert Dahlgren’s Volvo, while James Moffat had perhaps the most spectacular crash when his Nissan clipped the inside wall at Turn 11 before being launched into the barriers on the outside of the left-hander.
Mark Winterbottom struggled to fourteenth place in his FPR Ford Falcon, which meant the championship gap between he and Whincup has now blown out to 402 points.
The field now takes a three-week break before regrouping for the penultimate round of the championship on 15-16 November at the Phillip Island circuit.
2014 V8 Supercars Gold Coast 600 – Race 2 (100 laps*):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell||Red Bull Racing Australia||2:13:00.311|
|2.||Scott McLaughlin / Alexandre Premat||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM||+ 2.851|
|3.||Michael Caruso / Dean Fiore||Norton Hornets||+ 3.447|
|4.||Tim Slade / Tony D’Alberto||SuperCheap Auto Racing||+ 11.213|
|5.||Shane van Gisbergen / Jonathon Webb||Team TEKNO VIP Petfoods||+ 18.030|
|6.||David Reynolds / Dean Canto||The Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 18.696|
|7.||Fabian Coulthard / Luke Youlden||Lockwood Racing||+ 18.791|
|8.||Russell Ingall / Tim Blanchard||Repair Management Australia Racing||+ 21.181|
|9.||Rick Kelly / David Russell||Jack Daniel’s Racing||+ 21.375|
|10.||Nick Percat / Oliver Gavin||HHA Racing||+ 21.591|
|11.||Craig Lowndes / Steven Richards||Red Bull Racing Australia||+ 23.764|
|12.||Scott Pye / Ashley Walsh||Wilson Security Racing||+ 25.040|
|13.||Garth Tander / Warren Luff||Holden Racing Team||+ 26.678|
|14.||Mark Winterbottom / Steve Owen||Pepsi Max Crew Ford Performance Racing||+ 27.787|
|15.||Jack Perkins / Cameron Waters||Team Jeld-Wen||+ 44.403|
|16.||David Wall / Steven Johnson||Wilson Security Racing||+ 51.171|
|17.||Robert Dahlgren / Greg Ritter||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM||+ 56.212|
|18.||Chaz Mostert / Paul Morris||Pepsi Max Crew Ford Performance Racing||+ 1:10.203|
|19.||Jason Bright / Andrew Jones||Team BOC||– 2 laps|
|20.||Todd Kelly / Alex Buncombe||Jack Daniel’s Racing||– 7 laps|
|21.||Will Davison / Alex Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8||– 12 laps|
|22.||James Courtney / Greg Murphy||Holden Racing Team||– 17 laps|
|DNF.||James Moffat / Taz Douglas||Norton Hornets||65 laps|
|DNF.||Dale Wood / Chris Pither||Team ADVAM / GB||37 laps|
|DNF.||Lee Holdsworth / Craig Baird||Erebus Motorsport V8||18 laps|
* Race distance run to its time limit rather than its 102 allocated laps.
^ Winterbottom/Richards were stripped of third place for causing avoidable contact with Slade/D’Alberto on the final lap of the race.
Image via V8 Supercars