Jamie Whincup was seeing double on the streets of Homebush on Saturday after claiming the opening two races of the Sydney 500, however the strong results couldn’t prevent the Drivers Championship from switching hands.
A lightning fast pit stop from the boys in the garage tipped Race One on its head with Jamie entering pit lane from fourth and exiting ahead of Shane Van Gisbergen who had worked himself into the lead. From then on it was the man in the #1 Holden Commodore who controlled the race.
Lowndesy was forced to start from the back of the grid in Race One after a costly error in qualifying, however he fought back up the grid to finish P15 and ensure the drivers’ championship fight would continue in Race Two.
Starting from pole in the second race, Jamie never looked back as the afternoon shadows began to creep across the Sydney Olympic Park precinct and he crossed the line to take the flag and notch up his 97th career victory.
Despite Craig’s best efforts today and throughout the season, he was unable to stop Mark Winterbottom from claiming his maiden V8 Supercars championship title, the points lead too great a margin, with Lowndesy finishing seventh and Frosty third.
Over in the race to secure the Teams Championship, Red Bull Racing Australia are now 16 points ahead of Prodrive and can clinch the title if both Holdens finish ahead the Fords of Winterbottom and Steve Owen.
JAMIE WHINCUP (VF Holden Commodore, Car #1)
Practice Four: 5th (Fastest Lap – 1:27.9554)
Qualifying Race One: 5th (Fastest Lap – 1:28.0886)
Qualifying Race Two: 1st (Fastest Lap – 1:27.6420)
Race One: 1st
Race Two: 1st
“It was a great day today with massive team work to win the first race. The pit stop was like lightning, I came in sitting fourth and went out in the lead. In the second race we led from the start to the end. It’s a great car and the engineers did a great job. We didn’t fire up out of the truck fast, but we’ve ground it out. Two race wins today is pretty impressive. Credit where credit is due and congratulations to Mark (Winterbottom), he’s had a fantastic year. I’m happy that he’s been able to join the championship club and to pass on my title. Hopefully we can hold him at one title though! Credit to the Prodrive team, they’ve really stepped it up this year.”
CRAIG LOWNDES (VF Holden Commodore, Car #888)
Practice Four: 15th (Fastest Lap – 1:28.6755)
Qualifying Race One: 25th (Fastest Lap – 1:29.7398)
Qualifying Race Two: 9th (Fastest Lap – 1:28.3353)
Race One: 15th
Race Two: 7th
“It was always going to be a tough day today from where we qualified. But I’m proud that we managed to fight back. We had a good run in Race One, it was a great challenge. In today’s second race we tried to jump in front of Frosty, but he had a good car today and congratulations to him and the team for winning the drivers’ championship. We’ll see what tomorrow brings…I’m happy with today, as I said – where we started and where we finished, we made great progress. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and finishing off the year on a high.”