Whincup: I made a meal of it in Shootout
Practice and qualifying pace-setter Jamie Whincup was left to rue a scrappy final corner after narrowly missing out his first Bathurst pole in the Top 10 Shootout.
Whincup’s 2:08.10s lap proved 0.03s shy of pole-sitter Will Davison and a full 0.3s slower than the time the TeamVodafone driver had expected to record as he headed into the final bend.
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CLICK HERE for Will Davison’s thoughts of the dramatic Shootout
“Overall I’m pretty disappointed with how it all ended up,” said Whincup of the Shootout result.
“Clearly Will and car #6 did a fantastic job. The conditions were a lot different than we had all weekend but my car was very good. It went over the top of the Mountain very well and then I came out of Forrest Elbow and my dash was saying 7.8 (predicting a 2:07.8s lap time).
“I didn’t push too hard into the Chase and was still on 7.8 coming out of there and then just tipped it in a bit earlier into the last corner, made a bit of a meal of it and then the dash was slightly out. That was pretty much it.
“It was always going to be close but it’s just nice to come out on top in the close ones rather than the bottom.”
Whincup insisted that the light drops of rain that fell immediately prior to his lap did not have an impact on his mindset or his time.
“I could use that as an excuse – I was sitting there with the rain coming on the screen,” he said of the conditions.
“I went over the top of the hill on the out lap thinking it could be wet but I treated the lap like it was fully dry, I knew it would be fully dry.
“Mentally it’s hard work. You’re sitting in the truck for over three hours getting lethargic and falling asleep, and then you’ve just got to jump in and do one screaming lap in the afternoon.
“It’s hard to get up to pace but this is the best I’ve qualified at the moment so I’ve got to be thankful of that.”
The 2006, 2007 and 2008 Bathurst 1000 winner will be aiming to take out the Mountain classic for the first time as a primary driver tomorrow, and says he’s expecting a wild race.
“If the DVS (Dunlop Series) race is any indication I think the race will be pretty loose,” he said.
“All the races this weekend have been absolute crackers, I think everyone can feel how massive this event is being the 50th year. I think there’ll be a lot of desperation out there tomorrow.
“The keys will be to look after the tyres, support the co-drivers right through their stints, have good tyres for the end, and still have six gears, still have the windscreen in the car, still have the rear wing on, still have full throttle, not have the bonnet bent up… all the things you need to go fast at the end.”
He added when asked of his confidence heading into the big race: “No more (confident) than Lowndesy (team-mate Craig Lowndes) or Garth (Tander) or Will (Davison) or Shane (van Gisbergen) really.
“Let’s not disrespect this race. The fastest guy doesn’t always win, sometimes someone that starts outside of the top 10 wins this race depending on what curve balls are thrown.
“There’s going to be plastic bags across the top of the Mountain, there’s going to be a bit of weather, who knows, a rock might roll down the hill!
“Everything usually does happen here at Bathurst. It’s such a hard race to win and hopefully the wildlife will stay out of the way.”
See below for Speedcafe.com’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 Race Guide.