Hidden Valley: TeamVodafone race 2 report

Whincup masters tyre strategy to win in the Top End TeamVodafone's Jamie Whincup has won today's gripping 200km race at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway, holding off a late charge from Ford rival Mark Winterbottom on soft compound tyres over the...

Whincup masters tyre strategy to win in the Top End

TeamVodafone's Jamie Whincup has won today's gripping 200km race at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway, holding off a late charge from Ford rival Mark Winterbottom on soft compound tyres over the closing laps of the race. The defending champion opted to run his soft compound tyres at the start of the race and endured a sensational battle with Todd Kelly for second place throughout the opening stint. Whincup changed to the control tyres on Lap 23 and passed pole sitter Alex Davison for the lead on Lap 36.

Today's victory is Whincup's seventh of the year and marks his 40th Championship career win. "The feeling I got crossing the line was huge knowing that we had gone out there, battled for 69 laps all on different strategies. It all came down to which team did the best job and which driver kept it on thelimit for the longest," Whincup explained.

It was a massively rewarding race and part of that was gaining success on the soft tyre. I had a huge battle with Todd Kelly at the start which was great fun, I couldnt be happier with the result. My tyres hung in there and held out a bit better than the rest of the drivers and I came home strong," he said.

An uncharacteristic error by the pit-crew cost Lowndes valuable time during his second pitstop with the #888 Commodore dropped off its jacks before the front left hand side tyre was put on.

Lowndes, who qualified in seventh place today, tried to reclaim the lost time but was unable to catch James Courtney and came in fifth. "I got a lot of wheel spin off the start then got swamped into the first turn which lost me a few spots," Lowndes explained. "The car balance was good on all sets (of tyres) but I started to get understeer at the end of each run. The last pitstop cost me a lot of time and I pushed as hard as I could, I definitely didn't have anything left atthe end, the rears were gone.

"It was an eventful race so to be honest I was happy to finish fifth and we maintained third placing in the championship," he added.

TeamVodafone will head back to Brisbane to prepare for the Sucrogen Townsville 400 which will be held on July 9 - 11.

-source: team vodafone

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Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Jamie Whincup , Alex Davison , Todd Kelly , Mark Winterbottom