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WHINCUP: “Next three races will tell the story”

Just when you think someone’s pulling away at the top, it only takes one race to turn the tables and level the playing field.

With the competition at the top of the leader board hotter than a sizzling snag on the barby, the fight is well and truly on between Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s Jamie Whincup and DJR Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin.

A shocker of a Saturday at Queensland Raceway for J-Dub left a yawning gap between him and Scotty, and within the team it certainly felt as though we had a mountain to climb to bridge it. But it only took one race during the following event for fortunes to flip, dragging the margin back to just 12 points as we head into the most crucial part of the year.

The Enduro Cup has the ability to make or break a championship – as Jamie and teammate Shane van Gisbergen can testify (we’re looking at you, 2016). We don’t know about you guys, but here at RBHRT HQ there’s the feeling in the air that this endurance season could be as fiery as Craig Lowndes’ famous chilli sauce.

Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell of Red Bull Holden Racing Team practice driver changes at the Queensland Raceway test day

READ MORE: Live from the pre-enduro test day

“Every round is 300 points, so the next three are no different, but history shows that the season of endurance plays a massive role in the championship as a whole,” said J-Dub.

“I’m really proud to be in contention at this part of the year, but the next three races are really going to tell the story. Fingers crossed we’re still in contention come the end of the season of endurance and then we’ll fight it out ‘til the end.”

It’s no secret that last year’s enduro season for Jamie and co-driver Paul “The CEO” Dumbrell was not a bed of roses. We’ll be honest, it still stings a little bit, so let’s just glaze over the details. The point is though that the pair is on truly fine form – both know they’ve got a job to do and have never been better prepared to do it.

READ MORE: How did SVG’s co-driver Matt Campbell fare during his second ever stint in the RBHRT Commodore?

“Everyone wants to be in front,” JW continued. “Everyone wants to lead the championship the whole year. I haven’t led the championship this year, so that’s not good, but we’re right in there, we’ve got a good opportunity.

“I just need to keep my head down. If we make our own luck good things happen.

“This [battle] feels fairly intense, but that’s because we’re in the heat of the moment right now. The last four or five years we’ve been in battles as well, which have been equally as daunting. I’m looking forward to another challenge.

“As I said, I’m just happy it’s another year’s goal and I’m still in championship contention at this stage and hopefully will be, come the last round in Newcastle.”

The proof will be in the proverbial pudding (we like the sticky date kind, thanks) so there’s nothing left to say except… bring on Sandown.