Whincup wins, Winterbottom wobbles in Race 30
Jamie Whincup secured the Jason Richards Trophy with a dominant victory in the final race of the weekend at the ITM 500 Auckland.
The six-time champion was untouchable throughout the 69 lap contest, eventually taking the flag 4s ahead of team-mate Craig Lowndes.
A one-two finish proved the perfect result for Red Bull Racing Australia after being forced into a major rebuild on Lowndes’ car overnight.
Scott Pye completed the podium, taking the first top three finish for himself and DJR Team Penske in front of team owner Roger Penske.
David Reynolds was fourth, further closing the points gap to championship leader Mark Winterbottom, who endured a troubled race.
Starting ninth, Winterbottom was turned around at the hairpin on the second lap, rejoining in last place.
The incident, which will be reviewed post-race, saw Jason Bright’s Holden tip the Ford into a spin in the middle of the pack.
Dropping to last, Winterbottom endured further scrapes with rivals including Garth Tander and Dale Wood before eventually recovering to finish 11th.
The results see Reynolds sit 239 points behind Winterbottom with two events and 600 points remaining, while Lowndes is just one point further adrift in third.
Differing fuel loads was the only strategic card in the race following V8 Supercars’ move to mandate soft tyres for the first stint only.
The softs ended up running just eight laps as a Safety Car, triggered by Nick Percat being spun by Rick Kelly, saw the entire field head to pitlane.
McLaughlin and Reynolds ran second and third respectively in the early laps before trading places in the first round of stops.
Lowndes dropped from eighth to ninth in the pitlane after being forced to momentarily stack behind team-mate Whincup.
The second Red Bull entry moved up to sixth by the time the second stops kicked off on lap 30 and, needing less fuel than his rivals during his second trip to pitlane, eventually emerged second.
Pye’s fuel strategy saw him jump from fourth to third in the second stops, while Reynolds, Michael Caruso and Scott McLaughlin filled the top six and retained those positions to the chequered flag.
Caruso had survived two touches from team-mate James Moffat on the opening lap, the second of which sent the former straight through the Turn 5/6 chicane.
Fabian Coulthard and Lee Holdsworth had solid runs to seventh and eighth respectively, while Shane van Gisbergen charged to ninth after falling as low as 17th when stacking behind Pye under Safety Car.
Garth Tander took advantage of a late tangle between team-mate James Courtney and Cameron Waters to score 10th on a tough weekend for the Holden Racing Team.
Result: V8 Supercars ITM 500 Auckland Race 30
|1||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||69||01:18:57.1974|
|2||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||69||01:19:01.2612|
|3||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG/X||69||01:19:08.0037|
|4||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG/X||69||01:19:09.8986|
|5||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||69||01:19:10.3177|
|6||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||69||01:19:14.2806|
|7||Freightliner Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||69||01:19:19.5355|
|8||Walkinshaw Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||69||01:19:24.5599|
|9||Team Darrell Lea STIX||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||69||01:19:32.1645|
|10||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||69||01:19:36.9236|
|11||Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||69||01:19:37.5855|
|12||Team Cooldrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||69||01:19:41.7736|
|13||Nissan Motorsport||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||69||01:19:42.2699|
|14||Nissan Motorsport||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||69||01:19:44.2920|
|15||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||69||01:19:49.4296|
|16||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Mercedes E63 AMG||69||01:19:51.5430|
|17||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||69||01:19:52.3720|
|18||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||69||01:20:03.7030|
|19||GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||69||01:20:03.9768|
|20||Wilson Security Racing GRM||David Wall||Volvo S60||69||01:20:04.2120|
|21||Super Black Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Falcon FG/X||68||01:18:58.0715|
|22||Pepsi Max Crew||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||68||01:19:21.2550|
|23||Supercheap Auto Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||68||01:19:32.6932|
|24||Erebus Motorsport V8||Ashley Walsh||Mercedes E63 AMG||67||01:20:10.3412|
|DNF||Repair Management Aust Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||6||6:38.5055|
|5||Shane van Gisbergen||2269|
|50||Jack Le Brocq||144|
|54||Simona de Silvestro||84|