TeamVodafone’s Jamie Whincup battled illness to claim the Albert Park 400 crown with a win in the drama-filled third and final V8 Supercar race today.
Whincup, who has suffered from a virus all week, won the race by over 10 seconds from Pepsi Max Crew’s Greg Murphy and Toll Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander.
IRWIN Racing’s Alex Davison, on soft tyres, snatched the early race lead but a heavy crash on the opening lap brought out an extended safety car period.
Rick Kelly and Craig Lowndes made contact as they raced through the exit of turn 10, leaving both cars stranded on track as the rest of the field raced past.
Jim Beam Racing’s Steven Johnson tried to avoid the melee but made heavy impact with the right rear of Lowndes’ car.
David Reynolds, Warren Luff and James Courtney also suffered significant damage as they tried to avoid the incident.
During the safety car period most of the field pitted for soft tyres. When the race resumed Alex Davison defended the race lead from Jamie Whincup, but he was forced to pit for a hard tyre change late in the closing laps of the shortened race.
This handed the race win, and the overall Albert Park 400 crown to Whincup. Garth Tander and SP Tools racer Shane van Gisbergen (fourth in Race 3) rounded out the podium.
Todd Kelly, Michael Caruso, Tim Slade, Fabian Coulthard, James Courtney and Jason Bright rounded out the top ten in the final race.
Yesterday’s runner up Jason Richards did not finish the third race due to broken drive pegs on the rear hub of the #14 Team BOC Commodore.
“I came here to have fun and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Richards from pit lane.
“Unfortunately that last race didn’t go our way, but this is a weekend that I won’t forget in a long time.”
Plenty of teams face long nights and big damage bills ahead of the next championship event, the ITM 400 in Hamilton, New Zealand. from April 15-17.