Jamie Whincup wins fascinating Clipsal 500

Jamie Whincup in his TeamVodafone Commodore VE

Jamie Whincup in his TeamVodafone Commodore VE

Jamie Whincup has taken a record setting fourth Clipsal 500 victory on a day of mixed weather conditions in Adelaide.

The TeamVodafone driver swapped the lead with Will Davison early in wet conditions, before falling back into the pack as the track dried out.

While several drivers took turns to lead the race, Whincup charged back in the second stint, taking the top spot for good just prior to the second round of stops.

Rick Kelly was a well deserved second at the flag, having led for a large portion of the race.

Mark Winterbottom recovered from an early mistake which dropped him outside the top 10 to take third, ahead of the Holden Racing Team’s James Courtney and Garth Tander.

Yesterday’s winner withstood heavy pressure from Paul Dumbrell in the closing stages, while Will Davison, Steven Johnson, Fabian Coulthard and Alex Davison rounded out the top 10.

The wet opening stint will no doubt be remembered as one of the highlights of the season, with Whincup and Davison falling back into the pack as their wet tyres deteriorated on a drying track.

The Safety Car made its first appearance on Lap 29, just after the first round of pitstops had been completed.

Lee Holdsworth had been the only contender to opt for slicks, and paid the price at Turn 8 on his out lap.

The Safety Car was required again just laps later, with Jason Bright spinning on his own at the Senna Chicane and making heavy contact with the inside tyre wall.

Warren Luff caused the third and final Safety Car on Lap 49 when he crashed at Turn 8, giving teams the opportunity to take their second and final stops.

Whincup’s team-mate Craig Lowndes also had a fraught day, dropping from the top five to outside the top 20 when he picked up a puncture from Bright’s incident halfway through the race.

Lowndes’s race subsequently ruined for good thanks to a pitlane incident that saw the TeamVodafone Commodore released into the path of Greg Murphy in pitlane, resulting in a wild spin at pit exit, and a drive-through-penalty.

Lowndes eventually finished 12th, behind Jonathon Webb, who faded in the final stint after looking a podium contender during the middle of the race.

Joining Turn 8 victims Luff and Holdsworth on the DNF list were Todd Kelly and Jason Bargwanna – the pair colliding at Turn 4 on the second lap of the race, causing significant damage to both cars.

For the second day in a row, the race ran to time rather than distance – with 77 of the 78 laps completed.

Despite the weather, the Clipsal 500 was again well supported by the fans, with an official crowd figure of 270,800 over the four days.

1 88 Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VE2 77
2 15 Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE2 77
3 5 Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 77
4 1 James Courtney Holden Commodore VE2 77
5 2 Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE2 77
6 55 Paul Dumbrell Ford Falcon FG 77
7 6 Will Davison Ford Falcon FG 77
8 17 Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG 77
9 61 Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VE2 77
10 4 Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG 77
11 19 Jonathon Webb Ford Falcon FG 77
12 888 Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VE2 77
13 47 Tim Slade Ford Falcon FG 77
14 16 David Reynolds Holden Commodore VE2 77
15 12 Dean Fiore Ford Falcon FG 77
16 39 Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE2 77
17 21 Karl Reindler Holden Commodore VE2 77
18 9 Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG 77
19 11 Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE2 77
20 3 Tony D’Alberto Ford Falcon FG 76
21 34 Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE2 76
22 18 James Moffat Ford Falcon FG 63
23 8 Jason Bright Holden Commodore VE2 59
DNF 30 Warren Luff Holden Commodore VE2 47
DNF 7 Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE2 33
DNF 33 Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE2 27
DNF 14 Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE2 1
1 88 Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VE2 77

Championship points

1 Jamie Whincup 567
2 Mark Winterbottom 423
3 Garth Tander 363
4 Alex Davison 348
5 Fabian Coulthard 345
6 Craig Lowndes 336
7 Shane Van Gisbergen 327
8 Rick Kelly 321
9 Will Davison 306
10 Jason Bright 294
11 James Courtney 280
12 David Reynolds 276
13 Michael Caruso 270
14 Tim Slade 267
15 Steven Johnson 260
16 Jonathon Webb 257
17 Paul Dumbrell 240
18 Greg Murphy 225
19 Dean Fiore 204
20 Jason Bargwanna 195
21 Todd Kelly 174
22 Karl Reindler 174
23 Lee Holdsworth 168
24 Warren Luff 132
25 Steve Owen 129
26 Tony D’Alberto 125
27 Russell Ingall 90
28 James Moffat 71

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