Lowndes wins Race 28 as Whincup secures fourth title

Jamie Whincup leads at the start of Race 28 today

Jamie Whincup leads at the start of Race 28 today

Jamie Whincup has fought back from a mid-race drive-through-penalty in Race 28 at Winton to secure his fourth V8 Supercars Championship title.

The TeamVodafone Holden driver led the race after the first round of stops but soon dropped to 23rd while serving a drive-through for having his wheels spinning in the pits.

Despite a lack of subsequent Safety Car periods, Whincup clawed his way back through the field to finish third behind race winner Craig Lowndes and title rival Mark Winterbottom.

Shane van Gisbergen held out team-mate Tim Slade for fourth ahead of Jason Bright, Jonathon Webb, David Reynolds, Russell Ingall and Lee Holdsworth.

The result means that Whincup now has a championship lead in excess of the 300 points available at the final round in Sydney, although the possibility of points penalties during next month’s event ensures the title is not yet officially won.

Whincup drove far from conservatively in today’s race, engaging in spirited duels for the lead with Will Davison off the initial start and later on a Safety Car restart.

Davison had elected to start on the soft tyre and sprinted to a 10s lead over the first 15 of 47 laps. A Safety Car, called as James Moffat struggled with electrical problems, subsequently ruined the Tradingpost Ford’s strategy.

Davison inherited the lead when Whincup peeled into pitlane to serve his drive-through on Lap 26 before yielding to team-mate Winterbottom and eventually falling to 11th while on the hard tyres in the third and final stint.

Winterbottom was in the box seat to win the race following the second round of stops but complained of steering problems in his Orrcon Ford and could not match the pace of Lowndes, who slipped by on Lap 44.

The #888 Holden did not hit the lead until just 17 laps remained though as Bright, one of several on a three-stop strategy, had jumped to the front in the second round of stops. The Team BOC Holden dropped to 17th with its final pitstop before charging back to sixth over the final 16 laps.

Whincup’s rise through the field was the real focal point, however, with the TeamVodafone driver moving past Tim Slade and into the fourth placed ‘championship position’ with just five laps to go.

Whincup then managed to overtake van Gisbergen a lap later as the Kiwi saved fuel in order to make it to the finish.

Countryman Greg Murphy fared less well, running out of fuel on the final lap while placed 22nd to be listed as the race’s only retirement.

Others to endure difficult days included Fabian Coulthard (who was pushed off twice in the first stint before three-stopping his way to 12th), Alex Premat (who was involved in several early scuffles, including being spun by Taz Douglas) and Steven Johnson (who served a drive-through penalty for speeding).

Lowndes’ win meanwhile is the three-time champion’s sixth of the year and the 16th in the last 17 races for TeamVodafone.

The 2012 V8 Supercars Championship will conclude with a pair of 250km races around the streets of Sydney Olympic Park on December 1 and 2.

Result: V8 Supercars Race 28, Winton Motor Raceway

1 TeamVodafone Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:38:39.4858
2 Orrcon Steel FPR Ford Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 67 01:38:45.2975
3 TeamVodafone Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:38:48.1383
4 SP Tools Racing Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG 67 01:38:55.3215
5 Lucky 7 Racing Tim Slade Ford Falcon FG 67 01:38:56.5361
6 Team BOC Jason Bright Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:38:56.9031
7 Tekno Autosports Jonathon Webb Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:38:59.4021
8 The Bottle-O Racing Team David Reynolds Ford Falcon FG 67 01:39:02.0173
9 Supercheap Auto Racing Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:39:04.4955
10 Irwin Racing Lee Holdsworth Ford Falcon FG 67 01:39:07.7566
11 Trading Post FPR Ford Will Davison Ford Falcon FG 67 01:39:09.5128
12 Lockwood Racing Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:39:12.4264
13 Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:39:13.6046
14 Jim Beam Racing Dean Fiore Ford Falcon FG 67 01:39:24.1764
15 Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing Karl Reindler Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:39:24.6630
16 Fujitsu Racing GRM Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:39:24.9565
17 Team Norton DJR James Moffat Ford Falcon FG 67 01:39:25.0813
18 Holden Racing Team James Courtney Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:39:31.2782
19 Jack Daniel’s Racing Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:39:39.2556
20 VIP Petfoods Steve Owen Ford Falcon FG 67 01:39:39.8557
21 Fujitsu Racing GRM Alexandre Premat Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:39:48.2213
22 Jack Daniel’s Racing Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:39:57.3433
23 Team Hiflex Tony D’Alberto Ford Falcon FG 67 01:40:03.0056
24 Team iSelect Taz Douglas Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:40:03.5712
25 Wilson Security Racing David Wall Holden Commodore VE2 67 01:40:03.6188
26 Jim Beam Racing Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG 66 01:39:34.7978
27 Tekno Autosports Michael Patrizi Holden Commodore VE2 66 01:39:45.5856
DNF Pepsi Max Crew Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE2 66 01:38:19.1022

V8 Supercars Championship standings (top 28) after Race 28 of 30

1 Jamie Whincup 3639
2 Mark Winterbottom 3322
3 Craig Lowndes 3259
4 Will Davison 2851
5 Shane Van Gisbergen 2554
6 Tim Slade 2532
7 Garth Tander 2363
8 Lee Holdsworth 2120
9 David Reynolds 2037
10 Fabian Coulthard 1975
11 James Courtney 1895
12 Russell Ingall 1891
13 Jonathon Webb 1765
14 Rick Kelly 1720
15 Michael Caruso 1692
16 Jason Bright 1653
17 Steven Johnson 1543
18 Dean Fiore 1293
19 Michael Patrizi 1292
20 Todd Kelly 1263
21 Steve Owen 1237
22 James Moffat 1225
23 Tony D’Alberto 1104
24 David Wall 1097
25 Karl Reindler  988
26 Alexandre Premat  967
27 Taz Douglas  962
28 Greg Murphy  649


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