Whincup favourite to win Larry Perkins Trophy

Daniel Herrero

Sunday 25th March, 2018 - 8:40am

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Jamie Whincup

Jamie Whincup enters the final day of the Coates Hire Supercars Melbourne 400 in the box seat to win the Larry Perkins Trophy.

The trophy was commissioned in the wake of Supercars securing championship status at the Australian Grand Prix for the first time.

It will be awarded to the highest pointscorer across the four races at Albert Park, which is currently Whincup after consistently strong performances in each of the first three encounters so far.

He qualified inside the top four in the first three races, before going on to finishing second, first and second respectively.

The Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver has collected 234 points so far in Melbourne, 42 more than the man who held him out to win Race 5, Scott Pye, and will start today’s race from pole again.

With 50 points going to the winner of the final race of the weekend, Scott McLaughlin at 48 points adrift is the only other mathematical chance of hoisting the Larry Perkins Trophy.

McLaughlin won Race 3 from pole and finished second in Race 4, but ran off while leading Race 5 before losing more positions by pitting a second time for wets.

Whincup’s Albert Park exploits have seen him move from 15th and 198 points off championship leading team-mate Shane van Gisbergen after Adelaide to seventh and 128 points behind.

‘Round winners’ have not officially been acknowledged since Supercars opted to hand out trophies for individual races back in 2009.

However, Whincup is also the most recent winner of the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy thanks in part to his win in Race 24 in Pukekohe last year.

The Larry Perkins Trophy was created to honour the man whose career crossed Formula 1 and Australia’s premier touring car category.

Perkins made 11 starts in the former while his highlights in the latter are six Bathurst 1000 wins.

He was also a respected team owner, and Whincup drove for the Victorian squad alongside Alex Davison in the 2004 Bathurst 1000 and Sandown 500.

The trophy will be handed out for the first time after Race 6 of the season, which starts tomorrow at 1345 local time/AEDT.

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