Jamie Whincup has ended a 15-race winless drought by fending off Fabian Coulthard for victory in Saturday’s second Super Sprint race at Sydney Motorsport Park.
It was the reigning champion’s first visit to victory lane since his win in the sixth race of the season at Symmons Plains Raceway in March.
The Red Bull Racing driver started on the outside of the front row alongside pole-winner Chaz Mostert, but got the jump on the youngster off the line to lead the field into the first corner.
Coulthard, starting from third place in his BJR Holden, also managed to leap ahead of Mostert at the start as the youngster suffered another sluggish getaway.
That effectively sealed the podium results, with the top three remaining unchanged for the remainder of the 16-lap race.
The opening lap of the race provided plenty of drama, with three separate accidents that each involved one of the Nissans.
Scott Pye was turned around by James Moffat’s Nissan at Turn 5, while at the same corner Tim Slade and Todd Kelly also made contact – Kelly would pit with steering damage as a result. A few corners later at Turn 8, Jason Bright had contact with both Rick Kelly and Garth Tander at the exit of the corner.
Bright did well to keep control of his car in the second phase contact with Tander (who hit him up the rear), and somehow kept his Holden off the wall with a wild slide through the grass. He was able to rejoin the race, but was forced to retire later on with an apparent front steering failure at Turn 1.
Interest in the race outcome was kept alive by an invigorated Coulthard, who applied immense pressure to Whincup for much of the race. Whincup held on, despite a rough exhaust note and receiving a bad sportsmanship flag for exceeding the track limits at Turn 5.
The pair crossed the line 0.6 seconds apart with Mostert a further four seconds adrift; the Prodrive Ford’s one-lap pace on the Soft tyres did not translate well over a longer distance.
Scott McLaughlin finished a solid fourth in his GRM Volvo, putting a neat passing move on Shane van Gisbergen’s TEKNO Holden. The New Zealander was left to finish in fifth, leading home a train of cars that included David Reynolds, Lee Holdsworth, Mark Winterbottom, Will Davison and Craig Lowndes.
Winterbottom’s quiet run to eighth was disappointing by his recent standards, but it was worse for tenth-placed Lowndes, who dropped to third behind Mostert in the Drivers’ Championship standings. Winterbottom leads his teammate by a hefty 267 points.
Sunday’s action sees a 52-lap Feature Race starting at 2:00pm, preceded by a 20-minute qualifying session at 11:45am (GMT +10).
|2015 V8 Supercars Championship Sydney Motorsport Park SuperSprint – Race 22 Top-10 Finishers (16 laps)|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing / Triple 8||24:45.993|
|2.||Fabian Coulthard||Brad Jones Racing||+ 0.630|
|3.||Chaz Mostert||Prodrive Racing||+ 4.685|
|4.||Scott McLaughlin||Polestar GRM Volvo||+ 10.940|
|5.||Shane van Gisbergen||TEKNO Autosports||+ 16.863|
|6.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 17.045|
|7.||Lee Holdsworth||Walkinshaw Performance||+ 17.241|
|8.||Mark Winterbottom||Prodrive Racing||+ 18.025|
|9.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8||+ 18.290|
|10.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing / Triple 8||+ 18.649|
Image via V8 Supercars Championship