Unbreakable Whincup scores again at Winton
Man or machine? Some would say the latter after another unbreakable performance by Jamie Whincup in today’s V8 Supercar Championship race at Winton Raceway in Victoria.
Whincup made amends at the event which last year he claims was the turning point in his lost Championship, this time opening up a huge 220-point title lead with his victory today ahead of Garry Rogers’ Motorsport’s Lee Holdsworth and Jim Beam Racing’s Steven Johnson.
The copybook performance of Whincup was supported yet again by the perfect strategy, clinical pit stop execution and the perfect driving lines of a race driver in the prime of his career. He jumped front-row race leader Johnson in the pits and was never headed from there.
“It all went to plan,” Whincup said. “These other boys had a bit of an issue which allowed us to get out in front and control the race from there. We always come to Winton with a bit of a doubt about how we are going to go with a tight, twisty track that all the Victorian boys test on.
“I’m happy to be leading the Championship here, I lost it here last year and never got it back. (Now) things are on track for another good year.”
A poor start by his team-mate and Armor All Pole sitter Craig Lowndes allowed him to creep up as Johnson opened up a sizeable early margin. Holdsworth stuck firm with Johnson for a while before Whincup passed him on lap 12 of the 40-lap race.
Whincup was the first to pit soon after, ultimately assuming the lead. Johnson came out of his pit stop effectively second but locked his brakes twice on his first lap on cold tyres, enough for Holdsworth to sneak into second after his stop.
Johnson had started from second on the grid and for a while looked like he might dominate until the TeamVodafone prowess again made the difference.
“When you can qualify up there it makes it a lot easier in the race,” Johnson said. “I’m not sure what happened in the stop but as soon as I fired off at turn once and again at turn three that was just enough for Lee to jump us anyway.”
I’m happy to be leading the Championship here.
Stratco Racing’s David Reynolds, who has been quick all weekend, had some bad luck when a piece of his rear came loose following a turn two stoush, forcing him to pit to have it removed and sending his Commodore to the back of the field.
Paul Dumbrell bagged fifth clear of Alex Davison, Jason Bright, James Courtney (who pitted late and moved from 19th on the grid to finish eighth), Mark Winterbottom (who drops to 10th place in the pointscore) and Fabian Coulthard.
The drivers and teams will return again tomorrow for another 20-minute qualifying session and a longer, 67-lap race for the 11th race of 27 in the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship.
-source: australian v8 supercars