TeamVodafone secure Team's Championship
TeamVodafone's Jamie Whincup has placed third in today's leg of the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge, while team-mate Craig Lowndes finished 11th.
This now places Whincup 53 points behind Championship leader James Courtney, with this round only adding two points to Ford driver's lead. However, the points accumulated by the TeamVodafone drivers today ensure that TeamVodafone cannot be overtaken in the Team's Championship with one round remaining.
Today's 65 lap race was shortened by five laps following an incident where Caruso and Will Davison slid off Sandown Corner and into the tyre barrier which required extensive repairs.
The race was re-started after most of the field pitted under the safety car following the crash, during which Whincup lost a position to James Courtney.
In the remainder of the race, the TeamVodafone driver was not able to match Courtney's pace and had to settle for third behind Mark Winterbottom.
Whincup, who was fourth quickest in today's qualifying with a 1:10.6355sec lap, said he was disappointed to lose points to Courtney but said the Ford driver deserved the win.
"Our main opposition won the race but I still believe we are in contention," Whincup stated.
"It felt like we did our best. We fought really hard but we lost a space to James Courtney when we made our pit-stop.
"It was disappointing to lose the points to Courtney but he had good pace on the soft tyres today. He deserved the win. Sydney is going to be a tough event," Whincup added.
Team-mate Lowndes, who had a poor start to the race dropping from sixth to 11th and finished in the same position, never had the pace to compete with the top place-getters.
Qualifying sixth for the race, Lowndes said he has now turned his focus to the Sydney finale where he will be aiming to make amends for today's disappointing result.
"It wasn't the best weekend for car #888 however we do have to take in the positive of securing the Team's Championship which now gives us the focus to do the best we can in the Driver's Championship," Lowndes said.
"After the re-start, the car struggled for pace with a minor electrical problem intermittently affecting the engines power.
"I'm really looking forward to racing at Homebush and making up for some of the points that we lost there last year," he stated.
TeamVodafone are now headed to Homebush for the Sydney Telstra 500 to be held on December 3-5.