Jamie Whincup has held off a determined Craig Lowndes to score victory in Race 15 of the V8 Supercars Championship at the Sucrogen Townsville 400.
Whincup and Lowndes jumped ahead of the three Ford Performance Racing Fords during the final round of pitstops before fighting over the victory.
The pair swapped positions twice over the course of the final stint before Whincup held on to win by 1s.
Their battle was momentarily halted by a Safety Car for Fabian Coulthard’s stranded Holden with just 13 laps remaining.
Lowndes had earlier lost position to Whincup towards the end of the middle stint when he momentarily tripped his pitlane speed limiter.
Will Davison took third ahead of Garth Tander, with the latter having made his way by Mark Winterbottom and David Reynolds in the closing laps.
Shane van Gisbergen climbed impressively from his 18th place grid slot to take seventh, while Jonathon Webb, Michael Patrizi and Jason Bright rounded out the top 10.
The race ran Safety Car free for its first 59 laps, allowing the FPR and TeamVodafone contenders to assert their authority over the field.
Pole-sitter Reynolds led the battle at the front for much of the race, but found himself shuffled to fifth with a small delay at his final stop.
Having run behind Reynolds for much of the race, Winterbottom found himself lacking the braking performance required to fight in the closing laps.
Webb and James Courtney were the only two drivers to start on the soft tyres, with the former taking the race lead from Reynolds by Lap 8.
The pair predictably lost ground while running the hard tyre during the middle stint, finally taking the chequered flag eighth and 15th respectively.
Coulthard’s retirement spelt the end of a troubled day for the Lockwood Commodore which suffered from a damaged left-rear hub following a touch with Rick Kelly. Coulthard had taken 11th position from Kelly at Turn 2 but failed to leave sufficient room for his rival on the exit.
Russell Ingall had an early end to his race after being involved in a mid-pack clash during the opening lap. The shunt saw Ingall drill the back of Lee Holdsworth’s IRWIN Falcon, which in turn made contact with Michael Caruso’s Fujitsu Commodore. Ingall later apologised to Holdsworth for the incident.
Their dramas allowed Jacques Villeneuve to take 24th in the final result, albeit one lap down on the victorious Whincup.
The V8 Supercars Championship now moves to Queensland Raceway for the Coates Hire Ipswich 300 on August 3-5.
See below for the full Race 15 result
|1||TeamVodafone||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:49.2414|
|2||TeamVodafone||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:51.0851|
|3||Trading Post FPR Ford||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:33:54.6063|
|4||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:33:56.2360|
|5||Orrcon Steel FPR Ford||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:33:57.3700|
|6||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:33:57.7084|
|7||SP Tools Racing||Shane Van Gisbergen||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:34:00.6448|
|8||Tekno Autosports||Jonathon Webb||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:34:01.8279|
|9||Tekno Autosports||Michael Patrizi||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:34:02.4474|
|10||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:34:02.7680|
|11||VIP Petfoods||Steve Owen||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:34:03.6201|
|12||Lucky 7 Racing||Tim Slade||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:34:03.8748|
|13||Jim Beam Racing||Steven Johnson||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:34:04.9348|
|14||Team Hiflex||Tony D’Alberto||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:34:05.3293|
|15||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:34:09.5015|
|16||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Alexandre Premat||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:34:09.9376|
|17||Team iSelect||Taz Douglas||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:34:10.8412|
|18||Jim Beam Racing||Dean Fiore||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:34:11.3015|
|19||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:34:12.2236|
|20||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:34:13.4889|
|21||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:34:14.2981|
|22||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Karl Reindler||Holden Commodore VE2||72||01:34:15.6670|
|23||Team Norton DJR||James Moffat||Ford Falcon FG||72||01:34:16.0794|
|24||Pepsi Max Crew||Jaques Villeneuve||Holden Commodore VE2||71||01:34:20.0610|
|25||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Michael Caruso||Holden Commodore VE2||66||01:34:28.4258|
|26||Irwin Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Falcon FG||62||01:34:30.4815|
|DNF||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VE2||44||01:13:24.8368|
|DNF||Supercheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VE2||7||10:21.5528|
See below for the updated points standings
|5||Shane Van Gisbergen||1280|