Whincup fights through field as Richards hits oil slick in Hidden Valley opener A fighting drive by Dodo Racing's Jamie Whincup has landed the young Victorian a net gain of 10 positions in today's opening race of the Sky City V8 Supercar round...
Whincup fights through field as Richards hits oil slick in Hidden Valley opener
A fighting drive by Dodo Racing's Jamie Whincup has landed the young Victorian a net gain of 10 positions in today's opening race of the Sky City V8 Supercar round at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin.
The 22-year-old qualified a lowly 25th earlier in the day but a greatly improved car helped move Whincup through the field to an eventual 15th- place finish.
"We struggled after missing a lot of time in practice yesterday that we would have liked to have used to try and nail down a good setup," said Whincup.
"We did the best we could in that race. The changes we made for the race after qualifying were a dramatic improvement and gave us some more speed.
"When you're buried in the pack a little bit you want to be aggressive to make up positions but you have to be smart and conservative at the same time to make sure you don't get involved in any drama.
"You're always vulnerable to carnage but we escaped with a pretty straight car."
Team-mate Jason Richards enjoyed a better start to the day, qualifying 12th fastest and being promoted one place further up the grid after Russell Ingall's Falcon was put to the rear for missing the weighbridge in the pits during qualifying.
He escaped a first corner incident that eliminated Simon Wills, Jason Bargwanna and Jason Bright, and had settled the #3 Dodo Commodore into 10th place before he ran off the road on lap 13 of 17 on oil and debris and dropped to 25th place.
"I didn't see any flags out on turn eight and I just lost grip," said Richards.
"We had been going along OK before that. The rear tyres had just started to go away but other than that we were looking strong.
"Paul Dumbrell was in front of me and he went into the tyre wall. As he went in I was heading straight off behind him. There was some slight damage to my car from touching the wall but I could continue.
"It's a crying shame because it was a definite Top 10 result that slipped through our fingers."
Whincup and Richards will return to the circuit tomorrow for two more races, albeit of longer distance. Each of the races will be run over 48 laps (140 kilometres).