Whincup on the podium at opening leg of Clipsal 500 A sensational passing manoeuvre on reigning V8 Supercar Champion Rick Kelly in the dying stages of the opening leg of the Clipsal 500 has seen Jamie Whincup and Triple Eight Race Engineering...
Whincup on the podium at opening leg of Clipsal 500
A sensational passing manoeuvre on reigning V8 Supercar Champion Rick Kelly in the dying stages of the opening leg of the Clipsal 500 has seen Jamie Whincup and Triple Eight Race Engineering claim an inaugural podium for new naming rights sponsor Vodafone.
The TeamVodafone driver, who started from second on the grid, got an exceptional start and led the race for a number of laps before falling victim to residue oil on the track at Turn 4, which caused him to spear off, down an exit road.
Rejoining the race in 16th place, Whincup raced hard to reclaim as many positions as possible before the start of the compulsory tyre and fuel stops.
With the team completing both pitstops seamlessly, Whincup came out of the final stop in fifth place and stormed onto the podium to take third place after passing both Mark Winterbottom and Rick Kelly in the closing laps.
"I am really happy with my performance today," Whincup said. "As the heat and being first race of the season brings its own individual pressures."
"With only five laps to go and feeling the worst for wear I decided to give it one red hot go and try and catch up to the leaders."
"To pass both Frosty (Winterbottom) and Rick Kelly shows the car has got great pace and if I dig deep I can match it with the best of them in the championship."
"However, I am feeling pretty ordinary right now but I am sure after some treatment and a solid meal I will back ready and rearing to go for tomorrows race," Whincup added.
Teammate Craig Lowndes, who started from sixth, was in fifth place before the pitstops, despite struggling with the rear of his car and understeer.
Lowndes crew opted for two early pitstops with the aim to put him into clean air and a good position to make up ground.
After being held up by Max Wilson by nearly two seconds per lap, Lowndes attempted a pass that unfortunately caught the backend of Wilson's car and a subsequent drive thru penalty ensued.
Lowndes then maintained his position of 13th for the remainder of the race but was confident of moving further up the grid tomorrow.
"We had a difficult day today for a number of reasons," Lowndes explained. "We had an issue with the rear of the car before the start of the race which we believed we had fixed but it came back to haunt us and I ended up with too much understeer.
"We decided to get our pitstops out of the way early but then I got stuck behind Max who was still to complete a second stop and holding me up by about two seconds per lap. Unfortunately there was contact which resulted in a drive through penalty and the goal from there was just to stay in the points."
"We will fix our mechanical issues for tomorrow's race and knowing the speed that Jamie had, I am looking forward to tomorrows race," Lowndes continued.
The V8 Supercars will warm up at 10.40am with the final leg of the Clipsal 500 to start at 2.30pm.