Whincup Dominates First Race of Albert Park 400
Team Vodafone’s Jamie Whincup has won the first race of the Albert Park 400 today – the first V8 supercar race win of his career at Melbourne’s Grand Prix circuit.
Capitalising on his front row start and a strong early run on his soft tyres, Whincup was relatively unchallenged from the race start and maintained a handy buffer of between ten to twenty seconds throughout the race.
“I’ve been coming here for many years but I’ve never been able to snag a win until today,” said Whincup after the race.
“We had a good strategy which gave us track position. I owe it to the guys in the garage …starting on soft tyres I was able to clear out in the first half of the race.
“We may not be as luck tomorrow, so we might have to change our strategy up before the next race!”
Toll Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander finished second, ahead of SP Tools Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen in third.
Tander was perhaps the man of the match. Starting from 14th, he made up a huge amount of ground in the first half of the race on hard tyres, and was able to rejoin after his pit stop in second place.
In the first half of the 25-lap race Stone Brothers Racing teammates Alex Davison and Tim Slade (both on soft tyres) battled in earnest for second place.
Slade’s charge came to an end during his pit stop, when his crew struggled with a cross-threaded wheel nut on his front right tyre. He eventually finished 23rd.
Alex Davison held off a hard-charging RickKelly to finish fourth.
Lee Holdsworth (Fujitsu Racing) finished sixth, with Jason Richards (Team BOC), Mark Winterbottom (Ford Performance Racing), Jonathon Webb (Mother Energy Racing Team) and Jason Bright (Team BOC) rounding out the top ten.
Pole sitter Craig Lowndes’ run ended on lap four, when contact with van Gisbergen damaged the front end of his #888 Commodore. He rejoined the race on the soft tyre and promptly set a new race lap record, signaling he will have the pace to fight from the rear of the grid tomorrow.
The finishing order of Race 1 determines the grid for Race 2 tomorrow (Saturday).
Despite Whincup’s race win he trails van Gisbergen by 18 points for the Albert Park 400 crown, due to van Gisbergen’s points from fastest in qualifying.
The winner of the Albert Park 400 will be the driver with the highest number of points across the three races.
The second race of the Albert Park 400 starts at 6.20pm tomorrow (Saturday).
-source: v8 supercars