Brilliant second for Richards and Whincup in bruising Bathurst 1000 Kiwi ace Jason Richards and Jamie Whincup have recorded the best result of their respective V8 Supercar careers with a brilliant second-place in today's Super Cheap Auto...
Brilliant second for Richards and Whincup in bruising Bathurst 1000
Kiwi ace Jason Richards and Jamie Whincup have recorded the best result of their respective V8 Supercar careers with a brilliant second-place in today's Super Cheap Auto 1000 at Mount Panorama, Bathurst.
The duo were in contention all day in the 161-lap endurance classic, with Whincup thrusting the car into second place by the time he pitted to hand over to Richards for the final stint.
A brilliant pit stop from the Dodo Racing/Tasman Motorsport crew pole- vaulted Richards out in front of Mark Skaife and into the lead with 31 laps to go.
The New Zealander led for 11 laps until the Holden Racing Team driver slipped past at The Chase on lap 141. Despite keeping the pressure on Skaife, Richards couldn't quite bridge the gap, even after a long Safety Car period to clean up a multi-car pile-up, though the result was easily the highlight of the team's short history.
"It's such an amazing day - we have been very much the underdogs and there we were taking it up to the might of the factory Holden team," said a jubilant Richards.
"It's the scenario you picture as a kid to be leading Bathurst in the final stint. Jamie drove like an absolute champion in his last stint and gave us every shot.
"The team have been amazing. Since the rollover in Queensland they have been inundated with work and the podium at Sandown was a nice way to pay them back.
"Our growing pains are gone. We have cemented our place as a serious contender in the category.
"Success promotes success. Our guys have lifted to the occasion and a Bathurst podium is something very special to share together. We had a picture perfect race. We stuck to our strategy and the result came to us."
Whincup started the race from seventh on the grid before handing over to Richards who completed a double-stint. But it was the former's second stint that pushed the #3 Commodore right to the front of the field and set up a nail-biting last 30 laps.
"It's a real dream to come true to be standing on the podium at Bathurst," said Whincup, who today was starting in his fourth Bathurst 1000.
"The pace at the front was unbelievable and the guys were telling me on the radio to be conservative but we were comfortable in the pace we were running.
"The car was faultless all day. Usually you have one of those niggling little problems during the day but there was nothing like that today. All of our team should be proud."
Following the dropping of his worst round - which drivers can now do following the completion of the Bathurst event - Whincup has moved up to 13th in the championship and is 70 points away from breaking into the top 10.
The team's second Dodo Commodore of Fabian Coulthard and Tony D'Alberto was in the wars all day and eventually forced into retirement after being an innocent victim of the multi-car pile-up at the Cutting on lap 145.
D'Alberto started the race from 25th on the grid and was settling into a good race rhythm before contact with Marcus Marshall's Team Australia Falcon forced him to pit for repairs.
After being delayed many laps the car resumed but endured a litany of problems - including D'Alberto spinning the Brede/Cleland Falcon at The Chase - and was retired, too badly damaged in the lap 145 crash to continue.
Some consolation for Coulthard was the fact that the young Kiwi won the curtain-raising Carrera Cup race and heads to the next round on the Gold Coast in the series lead.
The V8 Supercar Series moves to the Gold Coast in two weeks time for the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge.