V8 Supercars Championship leader Jamie Whincup concedes that he was lucky to escape unscathed from a brush with the concrete on his way to the top spot in qualifying.
When pushing the boundaries in the #1 Red Bull Holden, Whincup skipped across the grass at The Chase and then flirted with more danger when he slapped the wall at The Dipper.
The Commodore avoided structural or suspension damage with a wheel rim the only casualty from Whincup’s momentary lapse of control.
“In qualifying you always just try to find that extra bit and it brought up a couple of extra errors,” Whincup confessed.
“I speared off at the Chase and then smacked the wall which thankfully it only bent the rim and none of the suspension.
“I came out of the Dipper and got a bit loose and got a bit of oversteer. I flicked it back the other way.
“I give myself a good foot and a half to the wall but I needed a couple of foot.
“I just rubbed the wall, nothing crazy. Generally you bend suspension parts or you are sitting in the fence trying to tow the thing and you pretty much write qualy off.
“Thankfully it was only the rim and Triple Eight Race Engineering suspension is like crowbars, it didn’t bend.
“So I was able to throw my third set of tyres on quite early and get a time good enough for the 10 (Top 10 Shootout).”
Whincup said the Red Bull crew were forced to perform set-up changes during qualifying to cater for a change in track temperature and wind conditions.
“That was a crazy tough session; it was all going on behind the scenes in the pits,” he said.
“The track condition then was completely different to what its been all weekend.”
Whincup suggests that teams will take time to unlock the ideal tuning set-up of the new generation V8s which have disposed of the live rear axle in favour of an independent rear-end.
“I don’t think anyone here is entirely happy. I think its going to take a couple of more days even years to really get well on top of these cars around this crazy place.”