Whincup wins Race 26, edges closer to title

Jamie Whincup has won Race 26 at Sandown

Jamie Whincup has won Race 26 at Sandown

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

Pos

Driver Name

Total

1 Jamie Whincup 3033
2 Craig Lowndes 2845
3 Mark Winterbottom 2449
4 Shane van Gisbergen 2414
5 Garth Tander 2388
6 Will Davison 2345
7 Rick Kelly 2211
8 Lee Holdsworth 1857
9 Alex Davison 1781
10 Fabian Coulthard 1767
11 Tim Slade 1724
12 James Courtney 1677
13 Greg Murphy 1621
14 Steven Johnson 1594
15 Jason Bright 1549
16 Michael Caruso 1507
17 Steve Owen 1501
18 Todd Kelly 1409
19 David Reynolds 1387
20 Jonathon Webb 1373
21 Russell Ingall 1349
22 Jason Bargwanna 1298
23 Paul Dumbrell 1242
24 James Moffat 1216
25 Tony D’Alberto 1045
26 Karl Reindler 1045
27 Dean Fiore 992
28 Warren Luff 749
29 Mark Skaife 532
30 Nick Percat 527
31 Richard Lyons 511
32 Allan Simonsen 509
33 Andrew Jones 460
34 Cameron McConville 406
35 John McIntyre 393
36 Steve Richards 366
37 Luke Youlden 344
38 Andrew Thompson 334
39 Sebastian Bourdais 288
40 Tim Blanchard 288
41 Paul Morris 268
42 Jack Perkins 255
43 Greg Ritter 243
44 Dale Wood 236
45 Marcus Marshall 229
46 Oliver Gavin 222
47 Owen Kelly 220
48 Daniel Gaunt 219
49 Jorg Bergmeister 207
50 Simon Pagenaud 207
51 David Russell 202
52 Shane Price 197
53 Nathan Pretty 192
54 Michael Patrizi 187
55 David Wall 185
56 Darren Turner 165
57 Richard Westbrook 150
58 Gil de Ferran 150
59 Craig Baird 148
60 Boris Said 147
61 Matthew Halliday 137
62 Augusto Farfus Jr 132
63 Jan Magnussen 129
64 Joey Hand 120
65 Alex Tagliani 120
66 Emanuele Pirro 114
67 Dean Canto 109
68 Taz Douglas 93
69 Marc Lieb 87
70 Dirk Muller 69
71 David Besnard 66
72 Christian Klein 60
73 Vitantonio Liuzzi 48
74 Sarrazin Stephane 42
75 Fabrizio Giovanardi 39
76 Marino Franchitti 0
77 Cameron Waters 0
78 Grant Denyer 0

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