Whincup and Bourdais conserve to win Race 21
Jamie Whincup has completed a marathon final stint to win the opening race of the 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600 alongside co-driver Sebastien Bourdais.
The TeamVodafone Commodore made its second and final pitstop with 47 of the 103 laps still remaining, forcing Whincup to conserve fuel over the final stint.
A late-race Safety Car for debris ensured that all of the leading contenders would make it to the flag, allowing Whincup to lead home Trading Post FPR Falcon driver Will Davison by 2.2s.
Mark Winterbottom and Richard Lyons took third despite the Irishman attracting a drive-through penalty for a driving infringement, while an alternative pit strategy saw James Moffat charge home to a fourth place finish.
Fabian Coulthard also made ground in the closing stages to take fifth, while Greg Murphy, Rick Kelly, Michael Caruso, Jonathon Webb and Lee Holdsworth rounded out the top 10.
The result sees Whincup regain the lead in the V8 Supercars Championship from Craig Lowndes, who endured a shocking day in the second TeamVodafone entry.
Lowndes and co-driver Andy Priaulx spent the afternoon in-and-out of the pits with electrical problems, before a stray bollard damaged the radiator and forced the pair out for good.
The opening lap carnage of last year was not to be repeated, with Bourdais leading the way into the first chicane from Mika Salo (#6 Trading Post Racing) and Ryan Briscoe (#2 Toll Holden Racing Team).
The Frenchman edged out a 6s lead over Salo across the opening 28 laps, before doubling the margin prior to the Finn pitting on Lap 35.
Briscoe meanwhile had been the first of the leaders to pit, with the HRT replacing the IndyCar star a lap short of his minimum prescribed distance.
By the time the first round of stops had shaken out, Whincup led Tander by over 25s, with the duo split by Fujitsu Racing’s Augusto Farfus, who was on an alternate strategy after an early stop.
Davison lost ground in his car’s stop thanks to a 10 second hold for a jump start from Salo to sit fourth, while Fabian Coulthard and James Moffat rounded out the top six after stellar opening stints from American co-drivers Patrick Long and Joey Hand respectively.
Winterbottom meanwhile was almost a lap down following a drive-through penalty for his co-driver Richard Lyons, who shunted IRWIN Racing’s Marc Lieb into the Turn 14 exit wall on Lap 18.
A Safety Car period for a lose bollard at Turn 2 on Lap 50 was a godsend for Winterbottom, and saw a group of cars including Tander, Coulthard and Moffat head to pitlane – the HRT installing Briscoe for a single lap under the full-course yellow before Tander jumped back in.
With the Turn 2 bollard again coming adrift after the restart, the Safety Car was called back onto the circuit on Lap 55. Although outside of their fuel range, Whincup led a train of cars to the pits – with Moffat, Coulthard, Tim Slade and Lee Holdsworth staying out on the ‘alternate’ strategy.
After leading in excess of 30 laps, Moffat was the last of the quartet to make his final stop, handing the lead back to Whincup.
The final debris Safety Car was called on Lap 90, just moments after engineer Mark Dutton gave Whincup the all-clear on fuel.
Whincup pulled a comfortable margin on the pursuing Davison over the final laps, while a spirited battle raged for the remainder of the top 10 spots.
Greg Murphy had found himself in third place at the last restart, but was immediately under attack from Winterbottom. The flying Moffat and Coulthard would also pass Murphy before the flag, relegating the Pepsi Max Commodore to sixth.
James Courtney too went backwards over the closing laps, falling from sixth to 14th in a spell that included a scrape the wall on the back straight following a clash with Holdsworth.
Team-mate Tander also struggled on the run home and took 11th, one position ahead of Slade, whose car had lost a lap with an early pitstop with Helio Castroneves at the wheel.
Stone Brothers Racing’s difficult day was completed by a 16th place finish for its SP Tools backed entry. An exceptional opening stint from Pirro had come to naught when co-driver Shane van Gisbergen pitted on his out-lap reporting a vibration.
Steven Johnson, Warren Luff and Karl Reindler had even worse days, with their cars retiring from the race before the trio could turn a lap.
Dirk Muller broke a left-rear upright on the #17 Falcon by hitting the wall at Turn 3, while Marino Franchitti was involved in nose-to-tail contact at Turn 4 that took care of the Gulf Western Commodore’s run.
Frabizio Giovanardi was the first retirement with an engine failure in the Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing entry, while Tony D’Alberto also failed to finish after the Wilson Security Falcon’s power steering system cried enough.
A second 300km race tomorrow will complete the 2011 Armor All Gold Coast 600.
See below for the full race result
|1||TeamVodafone||J.Whincup/S.Bourdais||Holden Commodore VE2||102||02:13:21.5515|
|2||Trading Post FPR Falcon||W.Davison/M.Salo||Ford Falcon FG||102||02:13:23.7417|
|3||Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon||M.Winterbottom/R.Lyons||Ford Falcon FG||102||02:13:24.0198|
|4||Jim Beam Racing||J.Moffat/J.Hand||Ford Falcon FG||102||02:13:24.3234|
|5||Bundaberg Racing||F.Coulthard/P.Long||Holden Commodore VE2||102||02:13:27.3948|
|6||Pepsi Max Crew||G.Murphy/O.Gavin||Holden Commodore VE2||102||02:13:28.6881|
|7||Jack Daniel’s Racing||R.Kelly/J.Bergmeister||Holden Commodore VE2||102||02:13:33.9845|
|8||Fujitsu Racing GRM||M.Caruso/A.Farfus Jr||Holden Commodore VE2||102||02:13:35.1554|
|9||Mother Energy Racing Team||J.Webb/G.de Ferran||Ford Falcon FG||102||02:13:36.5708|
|10||Fujitsu Racing GRM||L.Holdsworth/S.Pagenaud||Holden Commodore VE2||102||02:13:38.3600|
|11||Toll Holden Racing Team||G.Tander/R.Briscoe||Holden Commodore VE2||102||02:13:38.3741|
|12||Lucky 7 Racing||T.Slade/H.Castroneves||Ford Falcon FG||102||02:13:38.6205|
|13||Jack Daniel’s Racing||T.Kelly/R.Westbrook||Holden Commodore VE2||102||02:13:38.9841|
|14||Toll Holden Racing Team||J.Courtney/D.Turner||Holden Commodore VE2||102||02:13:42.2283|
|15||The Bottle-O Racing Team||P.Dumbrell/C.Klien||Ford Falcon FG||102||02:13:43.6123|
|16||SP Tools Racing||S.Van Gisbergen/E.Pirro||Ford Falcon FG||102||02:13:45.4316|
|17||Jana Living Racing||J.Bargwanna/A.Simonsen||Holden Commodore VE2||102||02:13:47.4393|
|18||VIP Petfoods||S.Owen/B.Said||Holden Commodore VE2||102||02:13:50.4773|
|19||Stratco Racing||D.Reynolds/A.Tagliani||Holden Commodore VE2||100||02:13:51.1914|
|20||Westrac Racing||D.Fiore/G.Morbidelli||Ford Falcon FG||100||02:14:09.6162|
|21||Team Boc||J.Bright/S.Sarrazin||Holden Commodore VE2||99||02:13:53.7629|
|22||Supercheap Auto Racing||R.Ingall/J.Magnussen||Holden Commodore VE2||97||02:14:27.5129|
|23||Irwin Racing||A.Davison/M.Lieb||Ford Falcon FG||78||02:13:57.6370|
|DNF||Wilson Security Racing||T.D’Alberto/V.Liuzzi||Ford Falcon FG||75||02:13:31.6118|
|DNF||TeamVodafone||C.Lowndes/A.Priaulx||Holden Commodore VE2||52||01:41:17.3821|
|DNF||Jim Beam Racing||Dirk Mueller (DEU)||Ford Falcon FG||24||31:17.3493|
|DNF||Gulf Western Oil Racing||Marino Franchitti (GBR)||Holden Commodore VE2||14||18:43.4264|
|DNF||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Fabrizio Giovanardi ITA||Holden Commodore VE2||13||17:11.9693|
See below for the updated championship points standings
|3||Shane van Gisbergen||1952|
|60||Augusto Farfus Jr||90|
|61||Gil de Ferran||84|
See below for TeamVodafone’s post-race video.