Jamie Whincup has struck back, scoring a dominant victory in Race 19 of the V8 Supercars Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Whincup finished ahead of team-mate Craig Lowndes and Ford Performance Racing rival Mark Winterbottom.
The victory has vaulted Whincup back into the lead of the Championship by one point over Winterbottom.
The result, TeamVodafone’s eighth race win in a row, has narrowed the points gap between the four leading drivers, with Whincup, Winterbottom, Will Davison and Lowndes all separated by 154 points.
In a largely mundane race, the only positional changes amongst the top three was when Lowndes lost time during his first pit stop with a right rear wheel nut issue. Winterbottom passed Lowndes, with the position eventually reverting in the final stop.
Russell Ingall finished a fine fourth, continuing his solid form from Queensland Raceway.
Fifth place went to Davison, who finished ahead of a charging Fabian Coulthard.
Coulthard spent the majority of the race enjoying a scrap with David Reynolds, with the pair running nose-to-tail for the majority of the 56 lap race.
Reynolds held the upper hand until Coulthard passed him on Lap 39. On the same lap, Coulthard slipped off the road at Turn 11, handing the spot back to The Bottle-O Racing Ford driver.
Coulthard re-passed Reynolds the next lap at Turn 4 and held onto sixth place until the end.
Reynolds was forced to withstand pressure from Coulthard’s team-mate Jason Bright in the closing laps, but held off his advances.
After qualifying third, Bright made a tardy start and slipped back through the pack. He pulled off a brilliant double pass on James Courtney and Michael Caruso at Turn 8 for eighth place where he remained for the remainder of the day.
The Holden Racing Team duo of Garth Tander and James Courtney rounded out the top 10. Tander also scored a new track lap record.
The return of V8 Supercars to the Eastern Creek circuit saw just over 24,000 people roll through the gates over two days.
The next event of the V8 Supercars Championship will be the Dick Smith Sandown 500, the first of the two-driver races.
Results, Race 19, V8 Supercars
|1||TeamVodafone||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VE2||56||01:27:43.9374|
|2||TeamVodafone||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VE2||56||01:27:55.3802|
|3||Orrcon Steel FPR Ford||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||56||01:27:57.4950|
|4||Supercheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VE2||56||01:28:00.8288|
|5||Trading Post FPR Ford||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG||56||01:28:07.9734|
|6||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VE2||56||01:28:08.8310|
|7||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||56||01:28:11.5630|
|8||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VE2||56||01:28:11.9560|
|9||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VE2||56||01:28:13.3355|
|10||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VE2||56||01:28:29.6729|
|11||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Michael Caruso||Holden Commodore VE2||56||01:28:41.2585|
|12||Tekno Autosports||Michael Patrizi||Holden Commodore VE2||56||01:28:45.7430|
|13||SP Tools Racing||Shane Van Gisbergen||Ford Falcon FG||56||01:28:48.2606|
|14||Lucky 7 Racing||Tim Slade||Ford Falcon FG||56||01:28:50.4332|
|15||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||56||01:28:58.8979|
|16||Team Norton DJR||James Moffat||Ford Falcon FG||56||01:29:01.2681|
|17||Tekno Autosports||Jonathon Webb||Holden Commodore VE2||56||01:29:01.4500|
|18||Jim Beam Racing||Dean Fiore||Ford Falcon FG||56||01:29:09.4087|
|19||Jim Beam Racing||Steven Johnson||Ford Falcon FG||56||01:29:12.1495|
|20||Team Hiflex||Tony D’Alberto||Ford Falcon FG||56||01:29:12.1777|
|21||Irwin Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Falcon FG||55||01:27:58.8141|
|22||VIP Petfoods||Steve Owen||Ford Falcon FG||55||01:27:58.8141|
|23||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||55||01:28:15.5386|
|24||Team iSelect||Taz Douglas||Holden Commodore VE2||55||01:28:17.0211|
|25||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Karl Reindler||Holden Commodore VE2||55||01:28:38.6387|
|26||Pepsi Max Crew||Jaques Villeneuve||Holden Commodore VE2||55||01:28:39.1719|
|27||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Alexandre Premat||Holden Commodore VE2||55||01:29:15.6447|
|28||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Holden Commodore VE2||52||01:28:00.2569|
Championship points after Race 19
|5||Shane Van Gisbergen||1634|
See below for Speedcafe.com’s Sydney Motorsport Park 360 Race Guide.