Whincup wins chaotic wet night race under red flag

Jamie Whincup. Picture: Ross Gibb

Jamie Whincup has won a chaotic race under lights at the Armor All Sydney SuperNight which was red flagged early due to rain.

Whincup led from the second corner of Race 25 until the race was initially suspended during a Safety Car period on Lap 25, less than 10 minutes before time-certainty would have kicked in at 20:33 local time/AEDT.

However, at 20:40 local time/AEDT, Race Director Tim Schenken advised that the race had been called for good, with results backdated to the completion of Lap 23 at Sydney Motorsport Park.

It locked in the #88 Red Bull Ampol Racing entry as the winner, with Anton De Pasquale second in the #11 Shell V-Power Racing Team car and Chaz Mostert third from the very back of the 26-car grid in Walkinshaw Andretti United’s #25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore.

Mostert had qualified second-fastest but was excluded from the session due to a breach of technical regulations, but his fightback was arguably not the most remarkable saga of the night.

Championship leader Shane van Gisbergen was classified last finisher in 23rd after twice being issued a drive-through penalty, but only ever serving one of them, due to an unsafe pit release.

The other, for passing De Pasquale before the Control Line at the first (and ultimately only) Safety Car restart was withdrawn when officials decided that the Dick Johnson Racing driver had lifted off the throttle.

Rain fell throughout, with everyone on wet tyres on their way to the grid or making the change on the grid as they prepared for the start.

De Pasquale had been elevated to the front row by the Mostert penalty, but neither his #11 Mustang nor the #97 Red Bull Ampol ZB Commodore would lead the field to the first corner.

Instead, Mostert’s team-mate Bryce Fullwood (#2 Mobil 1 Middy’s ZB Commodore) bolted from eighth on the grid to the front, immediately raising eyebrows.

Jamie Whincup (#88 Red Bull Ampol ZB Commodore) did almost as well in jumping from sixth to second, before going down the inside of Fullwood as they braked for Bond Bend (Turn 2).

Whincup initially did not get a chance to break away given a Safety Car had to be called when James Courtney (#44 Boost Mobile Mustang) and Brodie Kostecki (#99 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore) ended up in the wall after tangling at Turn 3.

Under Safety Car, De Pasquale sat third, from van Gisbergen, Will Davison (#17 Shell V-Power Mustang), Nick Percat (#8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore), Andre Heimgartner (#7 Ned Mustang), Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang), Will Brown (#9 Shaw and Partners ZB Commodore), and Tim Slade (#3 CoolDrive Mustang).

The restart came on Lap 6, and that immediately saw two critical moments for van Gisbergen.

Firstly, he passed Car #11 before they reached the Control Line, then sprayed off the road at high speed when they arrived at Moffat Corner.

Van Gisbergen just pulled up before the barriers and resumed in 23rd, while Brown and Slade quickly marched to fifth and sixth, respectively in the next handful of laps, behind the two Dick Johnson Racing Mustangs in the order.

Fullwood had to give up second position on Lap 8 after being pinged for a false start, and Whincup moved to more than three seconds clear of De Pasquale on Lap 10.

Mostert was up from last to 10th on Lap 10, thanks to a handful of pit stops but also good speed from the Walkinshaw Andretti United driver.

Van Gisbergen was then issued a drive-through for a restart breach but argued to engineer David Cauchi that De Pasquale had lifted, and the penalty was subsequently withdrawn “after a technical check”, announced Race Director Tim Schenken over the radio.

Slade pitted from fifth and van Gisbergen from 12th on Lap 16, at which time Car #97 was dropped as the right-rear wheel man was still trying to tighten the nut.

The championship leader would thus serve a drive-through after all, which he took on Lap 18, as Davison and Brown pitted from third and fourth respectively.

Despite Davison being given four fresh tyres, he got out ahead of Car #9, only to be swamped by Brown and Slade on either side as they rounded Turn 3, moments later.

Mostert, who had pitted on Lap 11, also bought into the battle, and when it all shook out, that quartet was headed by Slade, from Mostert, Brown, and Davison.

De Pasquale was about eight seconds back from Whincup when he took service on Lap 19, emerging a position ahead of Slade, before a Safety Car was called on Lap 21 in response to Jake Kostecki (#34 Unit ZB Commodore) finding the barriers.

That prompted those who had not pitted, including Whincup and Percat, to do so, and #88 emerged still with the lead of the motor race.

De Pasquale was second, and Mostert third after passing Slade on Lap 20, with those two split by Percat.

Sixth through 10th was Brown, Davison, Waters, Hazelwood (#14 Dunlop Super Dealer ZB Commodore), and Heimgartner, with 11th held by Luke Youlden (#26 Penrite Mustang) and 23rd by van Gisbergen, last of those still running.

The red flag was called as the field trundled around behind the Safety Car on Lap 25, and they were led into pit lane.

Race Control waited around 15 minutes before deciding that there would be no more racing, bringing an end to a dramatic night of activity at Eastern Creek.

Whincup now trails van Gisbergen by 337 points in the championship battle.

The next event is the BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint, which takes place from this coming Saturday (November 13).

Results: Race 25, Armor All Sydney SuperNight

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Diff
1 88 Red Bull Ampol Racing Team Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB
2 11 Shell V-Power Racing Team Anton De Pasquale Ford Mustang GT +1.190
3 25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online Chaz Mostert Holden Commodore ZB +2.437
4 8 R&J Batteries Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB +3.414
5 3 CoolDrive Racing Tim Slade Ford Mustang GT +4.520
6 9 Erebus Motorsport William Brown Holden Commodore ZB +5.262
7 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Will Davison Ford Mustang GT +6.265
8 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT +7.121
9 14 Dunlop Super Dealer Racing Todd Hazelwood Holden Commodore ZB +7.747
10 7 NED Whisky Racing Andre Heimgartner Ford Mustang GT +9.276
11 26 Penrite Racing Luke Youlden Ford Mustang GT +10.066
12 22 PremiAir Hire Garry Jacobson Holden Commodore ZB +10.478
13 35 Yellow Cover Racing Zane Goddard Holden Commodore ZB +11.310
14 5 Truck Assist Racing Jack Le Brocq Ford Mustang GT +13.147
15 18 IRWIN Racing Mark Winterbottom Holden Commodore ZB +13.969
16 55 Castrol Racing Thomas Randle Ford Mustang GT +14.695
17 4 SCT Logistics Jack Smith Holden Commodore ZB +15.752
18 20 DEWALT Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB +16.661
19 19 Local Legends Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore ZB +17.531
20 96 Coca-Cola Racing Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB +18.639
21 27 Mobil 1 SP Tools Racing Kurt Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB +20.128
22 2 Mobil 1 Middy’s Racing Bryce Fullwood Holden Commodore ZB +21.814
23 97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Team Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB +24.447
NC 34 UNIT Racing Jake Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB
NC 99 Erebus Boost Mobile Racing Brodie Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB
NC 44 Boost Mobile Racing James Courtney Ford Mustang GT

Fastest lap (bonus): Jamie Whincup, 1:42.5694s, Lap 10

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Pts
1 Shane van Gisbergen 2414
2 Jamie Whincup 2077
3 Will Davison 1965
4 Chaz Mostert 1895
5 Cameron Waters 1834
6 Anton De Pasquale 1689
7 Nick Percat 1558
8 William Brown 1406
9 Mark Winterbottom 1398
10 James Courtney 1306
11 Tim Slade 1272
12 Brodie Kostecki 1262
13 Andre Heimgartner 1222
14 Scott Pye 1205
15 Todd Hazelwood 1192
16 Jack Le Brocq 1168
17 Bryce Fullwood 1139
18 David Reynolds 1072
19 Zane Goddard 896
20 Jake Kostecki 874
21 Jack Smith 770
22 Garry Jacobson 742
23 Macauley Jones 734
24 Fabian Coulthard 698
25 Thomas Randle 364
26 Kurt Kostecki 302
27 Luke Youlden 106

Teams’ championship

Pos Car(s) Team Pts
1 88 97 Triple Eight Race Engineering 4491
2 11 17 (100) Dick Johnson Racing 3654
3 6 44 Tickford Racing 3140
4 2 25 Walkinshaw Andretti United 3034
5 9 99 Erebus Motorsport 2668
6 8 14 Brad Jones Racing 2664
7 18 20 Team 18 2578
8 7 26 Kelly Grove Racing 2370
9 34 35 Matt Stone Racing 1770
10 4 96 Brad Jones Racing 1504
11 19 22 Team Sydney 1440
12 3 Blanchard Racing Team 1272
13 5 Tickford Racing 1168
14 55 Tickford Racing 364
15 27 Walkinshaw Andretti United 302

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