Whincup leads home TeamVodafone one-two in Winton tyre battle
Jamie Whincup has taken another step towards his fourth V8 Supercars title by leading home a TeamVodafone one-two in Race 27 at Winton.
Whincup and team-mate Craig Lowndes were separated by 3.2s at the chequered flag after a race dominated by tyre strategy.
Lee Holdsworth took his first podium since joining IRWIN Racing at the beginning of the season by sneaking ahead of an out-of-fuel Mark Winterbottom at the finish line.
James Moffat led much of the race having started on the soft tyres, but fell to fifth in the closing stages while running the slower rubber.
Tim Slade, Jonathon Webb, Garth Tander, Michael Patrizi and Tony D’Alberto rounded out the top 10.
Whincup’s 12th win of the season sees his championship lead over Winterbottom extend to 326 points with three races remaining.
The two title combatants both started Race 27 from the front-row on the hard tyres, but would soon take divergent strategies as Winterbottom led a train of cars – including that of Lowndes, Slade, Webb, Patrizi and D’Alberto – to the pitlane to switch to the softs under Safety Car at the end of Lap 1.
Whincup was left to fight those who had started on the softs during his opening stint, managing to only lose two places – to the soft-shod Moffat and Tander – prior to the mid-race round of stops.
Whincup then began the second stint with a 10 second deficit to Moffat, but with the tyre advantage now reversed, it took just 10 laps for the TeamVodafone Holden to take the lead for good.
Lowndes, Winterbottom and Holdsworth also overcame Moffat in the remaining 10 laps to the flag as the soft tyres proved more durable on the sun-bathed circuit than many had expected.
Winterbottom had earlier lost track position to Lowndes soon after their first stops while trying to avoid a concertina accident at Turn 9. The melee saw Shane van Gisbergen push Will Davison into Tim Blanchard, damaging the two Fords as they turned the Jack Daniel’s Racing Holden around.
The Safety Car had earlier been called on the opening lap after Jason Bright was spun while attempting to round Turn 3 side-by-side with both Rick Kelly and James Courtney. Bright had started from third on the soft tyres, but dropped several positions when nudged wide on the exit of Turn 2.
Michael Caruso also took damage in the early shuffle, which saw the Fujitsu Holden momentarily beached in the Turn 4 gravel.
Also in the wars were Greg Murphy and Alexandre Premat, who tangled soon after the restart when the Kiwi locked a left-front tyre at Turn 10, sending the Fujitsu Holden into a spin.
The early Safety Car eventually saw the race run to its maximum time – one circuit short of its scheduled 47 laps. The abbreviation was much to the benefit of Winterbottom, who needed a push from Reynolds to make it back to the pits on the slowdown lap.
A 200km race will round out the Winton V8 Supercars event tomorrow.
Result: V8 Supercars Race 27, Winton Motor Raceway
|1||TeamVodafone||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VE2||46||01:08:36.3754|
|2||TeamVodafone||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VE2||46||01:08:39.6107|
|3||Irwin Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Falcon FG||46||01:08:49.9752|
|4||Orrcon Steel FPR Ford||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||46||01:08:50.0127|
|5||Team Norton DJR||James Moffat||Ford Falcon FG||46||01:08:55.4305|
|6||Lucky 7 Racing||Tim Slade||Ford Falcon FG||46||01:08:57.1324|
|7||Tekno Autosports||Jonathon Webb||Holden Commodore VE2||46||01:09:06.3248|
|8||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VE2||46||01:09:08.7407|
|9||Tekno Autosports||Michael Patrizi||Holden Commodore VE2||46||01:09:09.4380|
|10||Team Hiflex||Tony D’Alberto||Ford Falcon FG||46||01:09:14.6794|
|11||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||46||01:09:21.0011|
|12||Supercheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VE2||46||01:09:22.7507|
|13||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||46||01:09:23.2640|
|14||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VE2||46||01:09:25.0784|
|15||VIP Petfoods||Steve Owen||Ford Falcon FG||46||01:09:31.4190|
|16||Jim Beam Racing||Steven Johnson||Ford Falcon FG||46||01:09:35.1791|
|17||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Holden Commodore VE2||46||01:09:39.7512|
|18||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Alexandre Premat||Holden Commodore VE2||46||01:09:40.9976|
|19||Jim Beam Racing||Dean Fiore||Ford Falcon FG||46||01:09:47.5963|
|20||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VE2||46||01:09:49.0210|
|21||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Karl Reindler||Holden Commodore VE2||46||01:09:55.6243|
|22||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VE2||46||01:10:00.0407|
|23||Team iSelect||Taz Douglas||Holden Commodore VE2||45||01:09:33.1782|
|24||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VE2||43||01:09:36.5844|
|DNF||Pepsi Max Crew||Greg Murphy||Holden Commodore VE2||21||37:36.8228|
|DNF||Trading Post FPR Ford||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG||11||37:30.2897|
|DNF||SP Tools Racing||Shane Van Gisbergen||Ford Falcon FG||9||16:08.4699|
|DNF||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Michael Caruso||Holden Commodore VE2|
Championship Points: Top 28 after Race 27 of 30
|5||Shane Van Gisbergen||2434|