POLL: Who impressed you most at Ipswich?

By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Monday 25th July, 2016 - 3:00pm

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The Race 17 podium

The Race 17 podium

Cast your vote on the star performer from the Coates Hire Ipswich Super Sprint in this week’s Pirtek Poll.

A weekend dominated by Triple Eight saw victories for Shane van Gisbergen and Craig Lowndes, while Jamie Whincup extended his championship lead with a pair of seconds.

The trio weren’t the only drivers to shine, however, as several made the most of their own equipment further back in the pack.

Read through our shortlist of contenders before selecting your star performer of the weekend.

Craig Lowndes

Victory on Sunday sent a clear message that Triple Eight has three drivers well and truly in the title fight.

Saving a set of tyres in qualifying and making a clinical start ensured the veteran dominated the 200km contest on a circuit where he traditionally excels.

Also had the fastest car for much of Saturday’s race but failed to find a way by Whincup before making a small error that allowed eventual winner Van Gisbergen through in the dying stages.

Pither and Mostert battle in Race 16

Pither and Mostert battle in Race 16

Chaz Mostert

Put together his most complete weekend since returning from injury at the start of the year, scoring back-to-back top five finishes for the first time all season.

Appeared in the box seat to win Race 16 starting alongside Pither on the front-row, but couldn’t find the lead in the critical opening corners.

Drove well to pull off a strong tyre strategy on Sunday, running shorter stint lengths in order to minimise the impact of Prodrive’s current struggle to make the soft tyres live.

Chris Pither

Stunned the paddock with pole position on Saturday, starting a full 17 places higher than his average across the season to date.

Made an equally impressive start under the pole spotlight, but cost team-mate Mostert dearly on the first lap and was soon shuffled through the pack, eventually finishing 11th.

Less spectacular but undoubtedly solid on Sunday, converting a ninth place starting spot to eighth on a weekend where the Prodrive Fords were not the pacesetters.

Michael Caruso

Michael Caruso

Michael Caruso

Clearly the class of the Nissan quartet across the weekend and the only driver to mix it with the front-running Triple Eight and Prodrive cars.

Qualified eighth on Saturday – eight places higher than his nearest team-mate – but was denied a strong result due to a combination of a tap from Coulthard and a disastrous pitstop.

Was seven places clear of the next Altima in qualifying on Sunday and remains the only Nissan driver in the championship’s top 10.

Jamie Whincup

Narrowly missed his milestone 100th career win in both races, but could be content with a pair of seconds and an extended championship lead.

Put in a quality drive on Saturday to fend off Lowndes and almost Van Gisbergen too, in a car that was no match for that of his team-mates over a stint.

Converted pole into another second on Sunday despite a mid-race mistake that saw him momentarily drop places to Winterbottom and Caruso.

Tim Slade

Tim Slade

Tim Slade

Like Caruso at Nissan, Slade underlined his status as the lead driver at Brad Jones Racing with another solid weekend.

Started and finished in the top 10 on both days – an admirable performance on a track where BJR traditionally struggles.

Will be looking to shine even brighter at Sydney Motorsport Park, where the team found the podium in 2015.

Shane van Gisbergen

Scored his third win from four races on Saturday, using newer tyres to devastating affect as he cleanly carved his way by his two team-mates in the closing stages.

Notably qualified behind both Whincup and Lowndes on Saturday and Sunday as he fought for set-ups that suited the varying track conditions.

Subsequently struggled for a balance in the 200km race and was consigned to the midfield after taking it upon himself to pit when Pye found the gravel, ultimately double-stacking under green.

Pirtek Poll