Whincup pounces to win Race 17 in the Top End
Jamie Whincup stamped his authority again to ace the field and win Race 17 at the SKYCITY Triple Crown meeting at Darwin’s Hidden Valley.
In a race which kept race stewards busy, Whincup kept out of trouble to produce a master class and extend his lead in the Championship Series.
Whincup capitalised on a costly race for his Red Bull Racing Australia team-mate Craig Lowndes who was snuffed out of the chances at the start of the second part of the heat.
In scoring his 71st career win Whincup beat Shane van Gisbergen (VIP Petfoods) Commodore with James Courtney (Holden Racing Team) finishing third.
van Gisbergen’s team-mate Jonathan Webb finished fourth after being involved in a late race incident when fighting for position with Jason Bright, who eventually finished eighth.
Rick Kelly produced Nissan’s best finish in the new era in fifth place with Erebus scoring its best finish by far with Tim Slade bringing the AMG E63 home in sixth ahead of DJR driver Chaz Mostert.
Inside the last 10 laps there was a battle royale looming between Mark Winterbottom who was beginning to apply pressure on second-placed David Reynolds, first home in the opening phase of the race.
Then Winterbottom made contact with Reynolds going into the hairpin, turning the Bottle-O driver around and snuffing out his chances of a decent result.
Winterbottom was given a drive-through and finished 22nd while Reynolds crossed the finish in 14th after promising so much from the pole position.
Earlier there was drama on the opening lap after the rolling start for the second part of the 60/60 Super Sprint with Will Davison spinning, causing a chain reaction behind him as the field stacked up going into the hairpin.
Lowndes rolled into the pits with a crumpled bonnet after a scrap with Garth Tander while Tim Blanchard’s #17 DJR Ford parked on the side of the track bringing out the safety car. Stewards announced a post-race investigation into the Lowndes/Tander incident.
The Red Bull driver was classified in 26th position, the last car to finish behind the non-finishing Will Davison and Blanchard.
In the opening 21-lap stanza of the race there was some contact between Kiwis Shane van Gisbergen and Fabian Coulthard mid-race with Bright capitalising and gaining two spots to shoot into eighth.
On the opening lap of the race Whincup managed to fire it into turn one in front of polesitter Reynolds, however the Ford driver gained the position back exiting the hairpin complex.
A further two 35-lap races will complete the meeting on Sunday.
RESULTS: Race 17 – SKYCITY Triple Crown : Hidden Valley Raceway Darwin
|1||1||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF|
|2||97||TEKNO Team VIP||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF|
|3||22||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF|
|4||19||Tekno Autosports||Jonathon Webb||Holden Commodore VF|
|5||15||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima|
|6||47||Heavy Haulage Australia Racing||Tim Slade||Mercedes E63 AMG|
|7||12||Wilson Security Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG|
|8||8||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF|
|9||3||Team HIFLEX||Tony D’Alberto||Holden Commodore VF|
|10||36||Norton 360 Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima|
|11||33||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Holden Commodore VF|
|12||14||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF|
|13||2||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF|
|14||55||The Bottle-O FPR Ford||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG|
|15||360||Norton 360 Racing||James Moffat||Nissan Altima|
|16||9||SP Tools Racing||Maro Engel||Mercedes E63 AMG|
|17||7||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima|
|18||4||Irwin Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Mercedes E63 AMG|
|19||21||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Holden Commodore VF|
|20||18||Jeld-wen FPR Ford||Alex Davison||Ford Falcon FG|
|21||34||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Alexandre Premat||Holden Commodore VF|
|22||5||Pepsi Max Crew FPR Ford||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG|
|23||66||Supercheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VF|
|24||88||Dodo Insurance Racing||Dean Fiore||Holden Commodore VF|
|25||80||ekol Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore VF|
|26||888||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF|
|DNF||6||Pepsi Max Crew FPR Ford||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG|
|DNF||17||Wilson Security Racing||Tim Blanchard||Ford Falcon FG|
|6||Shane van Gisbergen||999|