Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes have taken a one-two finish for TeamVodafone at the Sucrogen Townsville 400.
Whincup ran just fourth when the race resumed from its one and only Safety Car period on Lap 47 of 72, before moving ahead of Garth Tander (who pulled off with a rear suspension failure), Mark Winterbottom and Lowndes in the closing stages.
Whincup made the race winning move on Lap 56 before easing away in the waning laps to record a 4.3s victory.
Winterbottom struggled with tyre life in the closing stages but held on for third, ahead of Alex Davison.
Shane Van Gisbergen charged from 19th at the Safety Car restart to finish fifth, ahead of Lee Holdsworth, Tim Slade, Fabian Coulthard, Russell Ingall and Paul Dumbrell.
As expected, the race was determined by tyre strategy – with a loophole in the event’s supplementary regulations allowing teams to used left over soft tyres from Saturday’s race playing a large part in the outcome.
TeamVodafone ran different tyre strategies on its two cars, with Whincup using all four of his ‘Saturday’ soft tyres in the first stint before coming home on his fresh ‘Sunday set.’
Lowndes meanwhile split his soft tyres, running a combination of used softs on the front and new softs on the rear in stints one and three.
The strategies meant Lowndes looked dominant early – pulling a 12s lead over closest pursuer James Courtney prior to his first stop.
Whincup struggled relative to his team-mate in the opening stint, but emerged in second place after the first pitstop cycle courtesy of being one of the first to make his stop.
The Toll Holden Racing Team’s day turned sour in the second half of the race, with Tander pitting for lengthy repairs before Courtney was penalised for turning around Tim Slade’s Falcon while battling for fourth on Lap 48.
Courtney was one of five drivers to have near-new soft tyres left-over from Saturday, and used the advantage to move from 12th on the grid to the lead during his opening stint. The defending champion eventually finished 19th after serving his penalty.
Slade, Alex Davison and Jason Bargwanna used their relatively fresh Saturday softs to climb through to the top 10 in the middle stint before the race-changing Safety Car period.
Jason Bright saw his day turn sour late in the going – finishing 22nd after a drive-through penalty issued for spinning Will Davison on the restart lap while battling for ninth.
The result sees Whincup extend his points lead over Lowndes to 186 points, while van Gisbergen remains third – a further 180 points adrift.
The V8 Supercars Championship continues at Queensland Raceway in five weeks time.
See below for the Race 15 result
|1||TeamVodafone||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:32:45.8802|
|2||TeamVodafone||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:32:50.2740|
|3||Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:32:57.1208|
|4||Irwin Racing||Alex Davison||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:32:59.8227|
|5||SP Tools Racing||Shane Van Gisbergen||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:33:05.8033|
|6||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:06.3241|
|7||Lucky 7 Racing||Tim Slade||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:33:13.1971|
|8||Bundaberg Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:15.3146|
|9||Supercheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:16.0311|
|10||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Paul Dumbrell||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:33:18.1816|
|11||Jana Living Racing||Jason Bargwanna||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:18.6566|
|12||Jim Beam Racing||Steven Johnson||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:33:21.5118|
|13||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:21.5306|
|14||VIP Petfoods||Steve Owen||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:21.8525|
|15||Jim Beam Racing||James Moffat||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:33:22.4302|
|16||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Michael Caruso||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:28.2331|
|17||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:29.2212|
|18||Trading Post FPR Falcon||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:33:30.7542|
|19||Toll Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:34.7497|
|20||Pepsi Max Crew||Greg Murphy||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:38.6441|
|21||Gulf Western Oil Racing||Warren Luff||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:41.4635|
|22||Team Boc||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:42.7440|
|23||Stratco Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:55.1114|
|24||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Karl Reindler||Holden Commodore VE2||68||01:32:48.4011|
|25||Wilson Security Racing||Tony D’Alberto||Ford Falcon FG||67||01:33:26.0879|
|26||Toll Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VE2||62||01:32:50.8365|
|DNF||R and T Pumps||Dean Fiore||Ford Falcon FG||39||01:15:40.8290|
|DNF||Mother Energy Racing Team||Jonathon Webb||Ford Falcon FG||1||1:32.6236|
See below for the current championship points
|3||Shane Van Gisbergen||1317|