Whincup wins Race 26, edges closer to title
Jamie Whincup has edged closer to a third V8 Supercars Championship title by taking Race 26 at the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge.
After struggling yesterday in wet conditions, Whincup basked in the Melbourne sunshine today, eventually beating fellow front-row starter Mark Winterbottom by 1.9s.
Despite struggling to match Whincup’s outright lap speed, Winterbottom was kept in contention by a pair of Safety Cars and some slick Ford Performance Racing pit-work.
Will Davison held out Craig Lowndes for third, while Garth Tander, Shane van Gisbergen, Tim Slade, Lee Holdsworth, Rick Kelly and Steve Owen rounded out the top 10.
The battle for the lead reached its high-point during the first pitstops, when Whincup and Winterbottom made minor contact as the TeamVodafone driver returned to the fast lane.
Winterbottom struggled with understeer in the second stint, but benefited from a Safety Car for debris on Lap 24. The Orrcon Falcon then lost in excess of 7.0s prior to stopping for the second and final time on Lap 39.
A combination of a three-lap longer second stint, and the interference of traffic, saw Whincup just 1.6s in-front when the Safety Car was again called for debris on Lap 50.
As Whincup edged slowly away in the final 15 lap sprint to the flag, Davison, Lowndes and Tander pressured the #5 Falcon, with Davison failing to find a way by despite having slightly fresher tyres – the knock-on effect of a longer first stint.
Van Gisbergen had been on an even bolder strategy – switching to a three-stop schedule by pitting for a second time under the first Safety Car.
The SP Tools Falcon driver had dropped time late in his opening stint with an off at Turn 1, and lacked the outright pace of the TeamVodafone and Ford Performance Racing entries.
Also stopping three times was Steve Owen, who carved through from 27th on the grid to finish 10th – passing six cars in the final stint alone having benefited from the Lap 50 Safety Car.
Owen’s team-mate Russell Ingall had a less productive afternoon, finishing 23rd after a drive-through penalty for a collision with Alex Davison and Steven Johnson at Turn 6 that took the #17 car out of the race.
Johnson joined Paul Dumbrell on the retirements list, with The Bottle-O Racing Falcon suffering a broken upper-control arm in its left-front corner following early contact with James Courtney.
Andrew Jones was also in the wars, suffering steering damage after late-race contact with Greg Murphy at Turn 12.
Murphy had earlier spun while attempting to take 12th from Michael Caruso at Turn 2 – an incident that subsequently saw Tony D’Alberto make contact with the back of the Pepsi Max Crew Commodore as it rejoined.
James Moffat completed another tough weekend for Jim Beam Racing in 24th, having served a drive-through for triggering an incident that saw Caruso off the road for a second time.
Races 27 and 28 of the championship will take place at the Sydney Telstra 500 in two weeks time.
See below for the full result
|1||TeamVodafone||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:22:18.5569|
|2||Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||65||01:22:20.5335|
|3||Trading Post FPR Falcon||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG||65||01:22:21.4345|
|4||TeamVodafone||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:22:21.9964|
|5||Toll Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:22:22.4615|
|6||SP Tools Racing||Shane Van Gisbergen||Ford Falcon FG||65||01:22:31.1631|
|7||Lucky 7 Racing||Tim Slade||Ford Falcon FG||65||01:22:31.7551|
|8||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:22:32.5611|
|9||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:22:33.4369|
|10||VIP Petfoods||Steve Owen||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:22:36.0217|
|11||Toll Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:22:37.8432|
|12||Bundaberg Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:22:39.1275|
|13||Stratco Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:22:42.7136|
|14||Jana Living Racing||Jason Bargwanna||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:22:45.7398|
|15||Irwin Racing||Alex Davison||Ford Falcon FG||65||01:22:46.0805|
|16||Mother Energy Racing Team||Jonathon Webb||Ford Falcon FG||65||01:22:51.0280|
|17||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Karl Reindler||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:22:51.4566|
|18||Wilson Security Racing||Tony D’Alberto||Ford Falcon FG||65||01:22:51.7285|
|19||Triple F Racing||Dean Fiore||Ford Falcon FG||65||01:22:57.2579|
|20||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:22:57.3619|
|21||Pepsi Max Crew||Greg Murphy||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:23:04.2090|
|22||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Michael Caruso||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:23:16.5800|
|23||Supercheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VE2||65||01:23:18.6152|
|24||Gulf Western Oil Racing||Warren Luff||Holden Commodore VE2||64||01:22:42.2904|
|25||Jim Beam Racing||James Moffat||Ford Falcon FG||63||01:22:27.2211|
|26||Team BOC||Andrew Jones||Holden Commodore VE2||60||01:22:54.5881|
|DNF||Jim Beam Racing||Steven Johnson||Ford Falcon FG||49||01:03:23.3125|
|DNF||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Paul Dumbrell||Ford Falcon FG||26||33:37.2059|
See below for the updated points standings
|4||Shane van Gisbergen||2414|
|58||Gil de Ferran||150|
|62||Augusto Farfus Jr||132|