Reigning V8 Supercars Championship-winner Jamie Whincup has drawn equal with Mark Skaife’s tally of 90 race wins with victory in the 2015 season’s opening race at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.
The Red Bull Racing driver qualified on pole with a record-breaking lap and led the race from start to finish. While it may have sounded like a dominant performance, he still had to withstand serious pressure from Prodrive Racing’s Chaz Mostert, who turned up the blowtorch after a late Safety Car interruption.
The final Safety Car was triggered by two events: Will Davison was forced to park his Erebus Motorsport Mercedes with an engine failure, while the same lap also saw contact between Andre Heimgartner and Dale Wood, which saw the former spinning and collecting fellow rookie Ash Walsh.
That left a last=lap sprint for race honours, which Whincup was able to survive despite the attentions of Mostert. The top-ten runners crossed the line covered by four seconds.
Fabian Coulthard wasn’t able to convert his front row start into victory, with the Brad Jones Racing Holden driver losing his second place to Mostert during the race’s pit stop sequence. The Kiwi still managed to cross the line in third place, earning his first ever podium finish on the street circuit.
Fourth place went to Craig Lowndes in the second Red Bull Racing Holden; the series veteran made four spots from his eighth-placed starting position. Mark Winterbottom finished fifth in the second Prodrive Ford ahead of Shane van Gisbergen’s TEKNO Holden, with the New Zealander making up five places from his eleventh-placed grid slot.
Seventh to tenth positions were claimed by all four Walkinshaw-stabled Holdens. Garth Tander led the way from Tim Slade and Lee Holdsworth, while James Courtney was left to rue a botched pit stop that saw him lose four placed courtesy of a slow right-rear tyre change.
Scott McLaughlin had a nightmare start to his season, failing to even take the start of the race when an oil pump failed on the warm-up lap. The resulting oil spewing onto his front tyres pitched the young Kiwi into a spin, leaving his mechanics with a frantic scramble to install a replacement engine into his Volvo S60 before the start of Race 2 later in the day, from which he will start on the front row.
2015 V8 Supercars Clipsal 500 Adelaide – Race 1 (33 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||33||48:28.749|
|2.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew Prodrive / Ford Falcon FG X||33||+ 0.857|
|3.||Fabian Coulthard||Brad Jones Racing / Holden Commodore VF||33||+ 1.252|
|4.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||33||+ 1.464|
|5.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew Prodrive / Ford Falcon FG X||33||+ 1.978|
|6.||Shane van Gisbergen||Team TEKNO Darrell Lea / Holden Commodore VF||33||+ 2.501|
|7.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||33||+ 3.018|
|8.||Tim Slade||Walkinshaw Racing / Holden Commodore VF||33||+ 3.294|
|9.||Lee Holdsworth||CS Racing / Holden Commodore VF||33||+ 3.871|
|10.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||33||+ 4.120|
|11.||James Moffat||Nissan Motorsport / Nissan Altima L33||33||+ 4.595|
|12.||Jason Bright||Brad Jones Racing / Holden Commodore VF||33||+ 5.152|
|13.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Ford Falcon FG||33||+ 5.702|
|14.||Todd Kelly||Nissan Motorsport / Nissan Altima L33||33||+ 5.952|
|15.||Rick Kelly||Nissan Motorsport / Nissan Altima L33||33||+ 6.429|
|16.||Marcos Ambrose||DJR Team Penske / Ford Falcon FG X||33||+ 7.145|
|17.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||33||+ 8.611|
|18.||Nick Percat||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport / Holden Commodore VF||33||+ 9.364|
|19.||Tim Blanchard||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport / Holden Commodore VF||33||+ 10.142|
|20.||Ashley Walsh||Erebus Motorsport V8 / Mercedes E63 AMG||33||+ 10.345|
|21.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Motorsport / Nissan Altima L33||33||+ 10.663|
|22.||Dale Wood||Brad Jones Racing / Holden Commodore VF||33||+ 31.526|
|23.||Andre Heimgartner||Super Black Racing / Ford Falcon FG||32||– 1 lap|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|DNF.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8 / Mercedes E63 AMG||28||Engine|
|DNS.||Scott McLaughlin||Wilson Security Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||0||Oil Pump|
Image via Hartung Photo