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Adelaide Archive

Adelaide: Here We Come

And just like that, it’s Adelaide week…

It felt like only yesterday we were sipping Red Bulls on Newcastle harbour rounding out another hard-fought Supercars season. Where has the time gone?

Fast forward 87 days from Race 32 in Newcastle, and the RBHRT crew have been working tirelessly over the season ‘break’ to ensure we kick off Season 2020 at the front of the grid.

So, Bulls fans, fear not! Over are those long summer days of lying on the couch rigorously flicking through the channel list on Sunday arvo looking to fuel those Supercars cravings, having to settle for test cricket or mixed doubles tennis…not as exciting, we know. But Adelaide week is here, and those smooth sounds of rumbling V8 engines will be back soothing your eardrums in no time.

Packed in our freshly stickered Iveco truck is very precious cargo; Lindsay (#88) and Chastitii (#97) – our two Bulls ready to charge down the streets of Adelaide. The latter being Shane ‘SVG’ van Gisbergen’s brand new chariot, which has already been through its paces during a shakedown at Queensland Raceway, passing with flying colours.

For SVG, we wouldn’t call his off-season a quiet one…(no, we’re not talking about his late nights out on Surfers Paradise Boulevard during the summer break). It’s been tough for SVG to let go of the steering wheel over the last 87 days. You name it, if it has an engine and four wheels, no doubt SVG has flogged the guts out of it.

“Basically, I’ve just been racing,” SVG said.

“January has been really busy for me clocking up lots of miles in cars, and because of that I’m feeling prepared and ready for the V8 season.”

To say SVG is raring to go for the 2020 season would be understatement of the year.

“I’m ready to start fresh.

“Last year we finished really strong – both cars were really quick, and we were able to get a lot of race wins towards the back end of the season so hopefully we can carry that momentum.

“There’s a few changes this year with the aero, suspension but hopefully we can get it figured out relatively quick and get into the racing.”

Jamie ‘JDub’ Whincup’s off season was been a little more subdued. After a late-season charge in 2019 with four race wins from the last seven races, JDub is looking to continue his form into 2020, and wants to ensure RBHRT are back in the hunt for both the drivers’ and teams’ championships.

“We were certainly very strong towards the end of the year so we’re hoping we roll out nice and quick this year and put our best foot forward.

“Our emphasis is to make sure we can still evolve the cars – still keep going with what we were doing at the end of last year, and keep grinding away; month, after month, after month to make the car as competitive as any.”

Commenting on the team’s workload during the off season, which included the Bathurst 12 Hour where Triple Eight Race Engineering claimed third place, JDub was heaping praise on the efforts of the entire team.

“On paper, the resources we have here [Red Bull Holden Racing Team] and the personnel we have here, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be as competitive as anyone.

“From here on in, we’ll be head down, making sure we have a better start to this year’s season to what we did last year.”

Following the Supercars SuperTest at Tailem Bend, the team now heads to Adelaide where all the action from the Adelaide 500 begins Thursday 20th February.

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Behind the Scenes: Adelaide 500

One sentence just about summed up the start of the 2019 Virgin Supercars Championship in Adelaide; it’s hot!  and although J-Dub and SVG managed to drive their way to the podium, the one thing we can take away from it all… it was HOT!

Experience the highs and lows of the weekend through our top ten snaps below.

 

Pit Crew Problems:

When your day consists of playing a game of tyre waddling.

 

Speedy – Think again:

Superloop Adelaide 500 Event 1 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Adelaide, South Australia. Australia. Feb 28th-March 3rd 2019.

Someone drivers don’t ever want to mess with.

 

Wheelies!

Superloop Adelaide 500 Event 1 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Adelaide, South Australia. Australia. Feb 28th-March 3rd 2019.

My wheels are bigger than yours!

 

This one got us stumped… … …

Superloop Adelaide 500 Event 1 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Adelaide, South Australia. Australia. Feb 28th-March 3rd 2019.

Clearly not smiling about those Mustangs.

 

Someone say new car:

Superloop Adelaide 500 Event 1 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Adelaide, South Australia. Australia. Feb 28th-March 3rd 2019.

Mustangs got us like…

 

Relationship goals:

Superloop Adelaide 500 Event 1 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Adelaide, South Australia. Australia. Feb 28th-March 3rd 2019.

Bromance and Fringe Fest here we come!

 

Threesomes:

Superloop Adelaide 500 Event 1 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Adelaide, South Australia. Australia. Feb 28th-March 3rd 2019.

Three apparently is always better than 1…

 

But…but… 

Superloop Adelaide 500 Event 1 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Adelaide, South Australia. Australia. Feb 28th-March 3rd 2019.

“Okay mate… Talk to the hand!

 

Eye on the prize:

Superloop Adelaide 500 Event 1 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Adelaide, South Australia. Australia. Feb 28th-March 3rd 2019.

See you in Melbourne.

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Adelaide Archive

Podiums and plenty to ponder in Adelaide

RBHRT took home three trophies from the Supercars season-opener, but know there’s plenty of work ahead to rein in the reigning champs.

By Matthew Clayton on redbull.com

Two races, three trophies, two top-three championship positions and one very clear goal of what’s required to get better; that was the takeaway on the Adelaide city streets for the Red Bull Holden Racing Team last weekend, with Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup getting their Supercars seasons off to solid starts in a sweltering SA capital.

A good result? Sure, when only one driver, Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske) left Adelaide happier, the reigning series champion annexing both wins over the weekend’s two 250-kilometre races to get his title defence off to the best possible start in the new Ford Mustang. But for SVG, in particular? After the Kiwi ace had won the past four races on the old Adelaide F1 circuit in 2017 and 2018, a pair of third places was OK, but nothing more.

“A tough weekend,” was Whincup’s succinct yet spot-on summation for RBHRT of the 2019 season-opener, the seven-time series champ having to settle for seventh on Sunday after trailing McLaughlin home in second place 24 hours earlier. Neither J-Dub, nor any other driver, could live with McLaughlin’s pace all weekend, the Kiwi winning Saturday’s race by over 12 seconds, and pulling up to take victory on Sunday by 2.3secs in a race that ended after 71 of the scheduled 78 laps, Race 2 of the season delayed by circuit repairs before the lights went out.

SVG trails McLaughlin, his 2018 title adversary, by 42 points after two races which ended up with the same result, but took very different paths for him to get there. Van Gisbergen qualified fifth on Saturday but was up to third early on lap one after a confusing start, pole-sitter Fabian Coulthard (Team Penske) moving out of his grid box before the lights went out and eventually being penalised, and fellow front-row starter Whincup almost going with him before eventually getting wrong-footed and jumped by SVG.

Whincup would eventually pass his teammate back after Van Gisbergen had a moment at Turn 14 on lap five, and through divergent pit stop strategies and on a day where Adelaide’s early autumn topped out at just below 40 degrees, the two RBHRT entries remained in that order, second and third at the flag behind the faraway McLaughlin.

“With any podium position we will take it and run, but we did get a little bit dusted at the same time by Car 17 (McLaughlin), so it’s sweet and sour,” Whincup said.

“We have some work to do for tomorrow and moving forward for the following race meetings. I think with the change in the rules with the springs and our first attempt at it we did a really good job.”

While Whincup was pragmatic, SVG was processing a third place that was anything other than straightforward, or comfortable.

“It was freaking hot and we weren’t exactly quick enough as we would have liked,” he said.

“It did feel quite good in the car, the team worked hard on cooling in the car and it was a lot better than I thought it would be. My foot was hot and at one point it left like my right boot was coming undone, but we decided not to change shoes during the pit stop. I was using my left foot to accelerate down the straights so I could give my right foot a break.”

Fortunately for everyone, fans, drivers and mechanics alike, Sunday’s sun was decidedly less intense, but qualifying painted a cloudy picture for RBHRT, SVG scraping into the Shootout in 10th, and Whincup missing it altogether in 12th after admitting to an error on his flying lap. SVG was far from deterred, though, and moved all the way up to second in the top-10 push for pole, his 1min 19.9263secs stunner the only driver to get within half a second of pole-man McLaughlin’s time. “I just did stupid stuff and came out second,” SVG shrugged.

The scene was set for the two title protagonists from last year to resume that battle when the lights (eventually) went out on Sunday afternoon, and the Kiwi duo ran side by side through a breath-holding first two corners before McLaughlin inched ahead as the opening lap developed.

And it was there he stayed, McLaughlin leading home an early-pitting Cameron Waters in a Mustang 1-2, with SVG all over the back of Waters in the final laps before running out of time to snatch second place.

“We made some big gains with the car, we found a little something for the Shootout which really helped and then for the race the car was much better than yesterday,” he said.

“I knew if we were going to contend for the win, we had to get through the first two laps in the front which we didn’t manage to do. It was an awesome little tussle, we just didn’t have the pace today.”

Whincup’s race was always going to be a complicated one after his worst starting spot in 22 races (he took off from 14th in Race 11 of last year in Perth), and he had to briefly double-stack behind SVG at his second pit stop before settling for seventh and a decent slab of points considering his lowly grid spot.

“We made up some spots today after a poor qualifying run and we’re happy about that, but should have been a lot better,” Whincup said after finishing Adelaide on 234 points, 66 behind the perfect McLaughlin.

“The car wasn’t quick enough and we made a bit of an error in the pits, which affected the results and probably should have at least been a couple of spots higher.  Once again, a bit sweet and sour.”

J-Dub will be hoping for more of the former and less of the latter at the next race weekend, as the Supercars series steps out at another F1 circuit, Albert Park at the Australian Grand Prix weekend in Melbourne from March 14-17. Whincup had a win, four podiums and two poles across the four races at the GP 12 months ago, while SVG will be hungrier for more the pair of fourth places that doubled as his best results around the lake last March.

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Adelaide Archive

Live Diary: Adelaide 500

Jamie Whincup – Car #88
Qualifying Race 2 –  12th  (Fastest Time: 01:19.8657)
Top 10 Shootout –  N/A
Race 2 –  Seventh (Fastest Time: 1:40:18.0104)
Championship  Third (234 points)

“It was a tough weekend overall.  We made up some spots today after a poor qualifying run and are happy about that but we should have been a lot better.  The car wasn’t quick enough, and we made a bit of an error in the pits, which affected the results and probably could have placed us at least a couple of spots higher salvage fifth from 12th.  Once again, a bit sweet and sour.”

Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97
Qualifying Race 2 –  10th  (Fastest Time: 01:19:82421)
Top 10 Shootout –  Second (Fastest Time: 1:19:9263)
Race 2 –  Third (Fastest Time: 1:39:55.5304)
Championship  Second (258 points)

“We made some big gains with the car, we found a little something for the shootout which really helped and then for the race the car was much better than yesterday.  I knew if we were going to contend for the win, we had to get through the first two laps in the front which we didn’t manage to do but it was an awesome little tussle, however we just didn’t have the pace today.  The race itself there was a lot going on but Shippy kept me up to date and kept me focused on what I needed to do but at the end I just didn’t get close enough to pass him.”

1750:  Nail bitter right down to the final seconds!


1700: 20 laps to go, eyes stay forward!

1630: What a mess outside the garage!  Thank goodness the pit crew didn’t get caught up in the mayhem.


1520: Race start delayed – drivers are keen to keep it cool.

1315:  What an effort by SVG and the crew – long shot from P10 through to front row start for Race 2!

1255: SVG sets a time of 1:19.9263

Superloop Adelaide 500 Event 1 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Adelaide, South Australia. Australia. Feb 28th-March 3rd 2019.

1245: First up on the track for shootout – SVG.

1110:  Anyone else want to be a fly on the wall in debrief?

J-DUB — P12 – 01:19.8657

SVG —  P10 – 01:19.8242

1030:  Qualifying 2 starts right now.

0700: Another day, another race – let the bulls run and have some fun!

Sunday 3 March

Jamie Whincup – Car #88
Practice 4 –  13th  (Fastest Time: 1:21:3310)
Top 10 Shootout –  Second (Fastest Time: 1:20:2179)
Race 1 –  Second

“We are rapt to be on the podium. With any podium position we will take it and run but we did get a little bit dusted at the same time by Car #17 so it’s sweet and sour.  We have some work to do for tomorrow and moving forward for the following race meetings.  I think with the change in the rules with the springs and our first attempt at it we did a really good job. I am looking forward to evolving now and making the cars faster for the following rounds.”


Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97
Practice 4 –  Second  (Fastest Time: 1:20:3178)
Top 10 Shootout –  Fifth (Fastest Time: 1:20:3178)
Race 1 –  Third

“It was freaking hot and we weren’t exactly quick enough as we would have liked.  It did feel quite good in the car.  The team worked hard on cooling in the car and it was a lot better than I thought it would be.  My foot was hot and at one point it left like my right boot was coming undone but we decided not to change shoes during the pit stop.  I was using my left foot to accelerate down the straights so I could give my right foot a break.  We still need to do a little tuning for tomorrow with the car.”

1900:  All in a day’s work – triumph over the heat and high fives all around!

J-DUB – Race 1 — Second

SVG – Race 1 — Third

1800: 

1750:  40 laps into the race and we have found another driver  – Air Con Man is keen as mad!

1730: Up… down and out we go!

1650: Bulls are off for Race 1 of 2019!

1620: 30 minutes before Race 1

1440: Down to the wire between the final three drivers of the shootout.

J-DUB — P2 – 1:20.2179

SVG — P5 – 01:20.3178

But unexpected visitors in the garage were way more exciting!

1315:  Time to chill out and keep cool – less than an hour to go before Top 10 shoot out.

11:20:  What a final practice – SVG set the pace early!

J-DUB — P13 – 01:21.3310

SVG — P2 – 01:20.3178

1030:  Bulls in preparation for practice 4 – let’s see what they’ve got!

0700: Action packed day ahead – full speed ahead!

Saturday 2 March, 2019

Jamie Whincup – Car #88
Practice 2 –  Second  (Fastest Time: 1:20:5415)
Practice 3 –  Third (Fastest Time: 1:20:1923)
Qualifying Race 1 –  Second (Fastest Time: 1:19.6483)

“I’m happy with the result.  Coming in from the test day and yesterday, I didn’t think it was possible, but the engineers did a great job.  They’ve kept tuning the car and moving forward all day, just making it better and better which definitely made us competitive.  We pushed hard in the qualifying session, we are up the front and starting second last for the shootout. I’m very happy but tomorrow is pay day and we need to focus on that.”

Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97
Practice 2 –  Third  (Fastest Time: 1:20:5454)
Practice 3 –  12th (Fastest Time: 1:20:9535)
Qualifying Race 1 –  Seventh (Fastest Time: 1:19.8946)

“It’s freaking hot and just tough.  The car is getting a little better and we are in the shootout so it’s an opportunity for us to have another practice to work it out but it’s just hot.  We will go through the data tonight and try to work out what we are lacking as we still have a couple of things lacking and a few things to find.  The best preparation for tomorrow will be getting in the ice bath just before the race!”

1825: Right, time for business! Let’s see what these bulls can do in qualifying for race 1.

1530: Practice 3 complete.

JDUB — P3 – 01:20.1923

SVG — P12 – 01:20.9535

1450:  Buckle up for the final practice before Qualifying.

1210:  Better run around the paddock for the bulls this practice.

J-DUB — P2 – 01:20.5415

SVG  — P3 – 01:20.5454

Superloop Adelaide 500 Event 1 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Adelaide, South Australia. Australia. Feb 28th-March 3rd 2019.

1150: Seems like the red flags have vanished from yesterday.

1140: P2 is under way.

1005:  Almost like kindergarten trying to get a quick snap of the Class of 2019 in this heat – Say Cheese!

0940:  Secret squirrel busy happening with the team plotting a plan of attack for Day 2.

0700:  Ain’t nothing going to break our stride. Another morning of preparations before the drivers head out for Practice 2 at 1140.

Friday 01 March, 2019

2015: We finally had a chance to chat to the guys to see how their days went, here’s what they said:

Shane van Gisbergen – Car #97

Practice 1:  P7- 1:21.5180

“It’s really hot out there.  It’s torture so we did short runs today which was good.  Our cars however are not so good.  We have a lot of work to do.  I think there is potential and we are closer than we were at Phillip Island as we have learnt a lot from the test.  We need to focus tonight to try and put something together for the two practices tomorrow and come up with a  good plan for both cars.  We’re not quite there yet.”

Jamie Whincup – Car #88

Practice 1: P13 – 01:21.8903

“It was a really poor day for us.  We needed to maximise all practice sessions after a poor test day in Phillip Island but unfortunately we just couldn’t get simple things right; the car couldn’t change gears and the roll bars were all over the place as well.  Unfortunately we are at a round where we really need to maximise as much information as we can.  We lost 30 mins in the first practice session without gaining any momentum.  It’s very disappointing but the only thing we can do now is regroup, hit the reset button and try to make sure tomorrow and Saturday are better days.”

1730: Bulls hit the track running for Practice 1.

1425: Team getting their briefing.

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ADELAIDE!!!⠀ ⠀ Will SVG make it 3 in a row? No pressure. 😅 ⠀ #RedBullHolden #VASC #redbull #adelaide500

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10:45: Shout out to all our T8M8s who came out to meet the drivers!

Become an exclusive T8M8 member and you can have exclusive access to meet and greet the drivers during events throughout the season.

09:15: Sounds of cars around the track anticipation is building!

0800: Morning exercise with pit crew anyone?

RBHRT Pit Crew Adelaide 500

0700: Ready or not for 2019 – Start your engines!

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Adelaide Top Ten Snaps

The start of the 2018 Virgin Australian Supercars Championship couldn’t have started on a better note for our team, well for SVG at least, we took home two pole positions and two race wins. Although car #97 was flying through the weekend, Jamie Whincup and the car #1 team had their fair share of lows which resulted in a ‘DNF’ on Sunday. Experience the highs and lows of the weekend through our top ten snaps below…

 

Winner x 2

Shane van Gisbergen of Red Bull Holden Racing Team during the , at the , , , March 04, 2018.

Let’s start with a high… With the drop of the chequered flag, SVG was crowned the Adelaide 500 winner two years in a row.

 

Final words

The vital final moments pre-race between a driver and their race engineer.

 

Say “cheese!”

SVG and J-Dub were lapping it up at the official 2018 class photo.

 

Zzzzzzzzz….

Shane van Gisbergen of Red Bull Holden Racing Team during the Adelaide 500, Graig Lowndes at the Adelaide Street Circuit, Adelaide, South Australia, March 03, 2018.

Take any moment you can get Shane…

 

Suiting up

J-Dub preps for another race on the track.

 

Taking royalty for a spin

SVG had the honour of taking Le Mans winner, motorsport royalty and all-round awesome bloke Vern Schuppan for a hot lap around the Adelaide circuit on Friday.

 

Hard work

There’s no better feeling than seeing all the endless hours of hard work pay off…

 

All smiles

“Happy boss, happy life…?”. It doesn’t quite rhyme but we still think it rings true!

 

That winning feeling…

Shane van Gisbergen of Red Bull Holden Racing Team wins the , at the , , , March 03, 2018.

When you take four race wins from four race starts… On top of two pole positions.

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Adelaide Archive

SVG does the Adelaide double-double

For the second straight year, Shane van Gisbergen annexed Adelaide – two poles, two wins, and one Supercars series lead.

By Matthew Clayton for redbull.com

Turns out Neil Finn was wrong all along. ‘History Never Repeats’ sang the Split Enz star back in 1981; fast-forward 37 years to the Adelaide street circuit that heralds the start of a new Supercar season, Finn’s Kiwi compatriot Shane van Gisbergen was doing the double-double – four consecutive Adelaide race wins across two successive years from four straight poles. As starts to seasons go, the Red Bull Holden Racing Team gun couldn’t have done much more to kick off 2018.

“It’s been a pretty amazing couple of years, four wins in a row and four shootouts in a row,” Van Gisbergen said.

“I’m not sure what it is about this place, but I love driving it and we’ve had some pretty awesome races here.”

Shane van Gisbergen of Red Bull Holden Racing Team during the , at the , , , March 04, 2018.

Of course, SVG has been in this position before – last year’s twin Adelaide success was followed by a win at Symmons Plains next time out before, frustratingly, not a lot for quite a lot of the season (to quote Finn: “I lost before, you know I can’t forget …”). Just two more wins (Winton, Pukekohe) came in the final 23 races of the year as Van Gisbergen faded to fourth overall, his title defence consigned to a supporting role to RBHRT teammate Jamie Whincup (more on him later) in the closing stages of the championship.

Saturday’s pole took a while to be confirmed – an investigation into him exceeding track limits at Turn 7 on his shootout lap eventually found there was no case to answer – and SVG looked to be home free after the second round of pit stops before a slew of safety cars compressed the field. No matter; SVG had James Courtney (Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing) big in his mirrors for much of the final 10 laps, but was never seriously challenged as he took a win by 1.22 seconds, Scott McLaughlin (Shell V-Power Racing Team) rounding out the podium.

READ MORE: How Saturday played out in our garages

It was win number one in race number one for the brand-new ZB Commodore, and Van Gisbergen had the Triple Eight team on his mind after he sprayed the victory champagne.

“It was a pretty awesome debut for the new Commodore – the team had a huge undertaking to build not only our three cars, but the parts for other teams as well as helping the Tekno guys out,” he said.

“They had a huge operation over the Christmas period and did a fantastic job, it’s a credit to them. I had an average start, but I knew my car was really good. I pulled some clean laps while (the other guys) were all in the pits … I dropped into a nice area and caught up to the front guys, and we won through strategy in the end.”

If Saturday’s win was one earned by smarts, Sunday’s owed itself to speed and a smattering of luck – which came at the expense of his teammate. Whincup, who qualified next to SVG on the front row, took off like a scalded cat at the start, and was 10 seconds up the road after the first set of pit stops played out.

READ MORE: A live diary of Sunday, in our eyes

But when a transmission issue saw the No.1 car parked in the pits before the halfway mark, Van Gisbergen was there to sweep up the crumbs, repelling a spirited charge by David Reynolds (Erebus Penrite Racing) to win by eight-tenths of a second after 78 laps, Garth Tander (Wilson Security Racing GRM) making it an all-Commodore ZB podium on its first weekend.

Reynolds had the fresher tyres for the final stint, but after SVG had snuck down the inside at Turn 9 on lap 44, the Red Bull driver had what he needed in reserve to make it two from two. Again.

Shane van Gisbergen of Red Bull Holden Racing Team during the Adelaide 500, Craig Lowndes at the Adelaide Street Circuit, Adelaide, South Australia, March 04, 2018.

“I knew it was going to be close with Davey (Reynolds),” he said.

“Jamie had the car to beat today, and we went a bit far with our set-up and were no good compared to yesterday. It’s a real shame we couldn’t get the 1-2. I hate getting points gaps like that, but that’s part of racing and hopefully we can have a few more battles throughout the year.”

While one side of the RBHRT garage was smiling, the other was balancing disappointment, a bigger-picture view and undoubtedly some sleep deprivation, after Whincup’s championship defence started in fraught fashion and didn’t improve much from there.

On Friday, the seven-time champ clouted the notorious Turn 8 wall during qualifying, and it took all three T8 crews – Van Gisbergen’s mechanics joining Whincup’s along with those from Craig Lowndes’ Autobarn Lowndes Racing entry – until after 4am on Saturday morning to fix the damage.

J-Dub qualified fifth and finished sixth on Saturday in a car that was nearly but not quite there, Whincup commenting that “there was a lot of smoke coming in the car from the whole side being trashed yesterday” as he salvaged 102 points from a day that could have yielded none at all, and survived a spin courtesy of Reynolds to boot.

Jamie Whincup of Red Bull Holden Racing Team during the , at the , , , March 03, 2018.

“It was a proud moment with the car being repaired and ready to go for practice three,” he said.

“Unfortunately five or 10 laps into the race we suffered some mechanical issues as result of the crash, which really just took the fight out of the battle for us. But all stuff we can fix overnight. All things considered, sixth, we’ll take that and run as a strong start to the year.”

Sixth was something Whincup could build on for Sunday, and he raced like a man on a mission on Sunday until his gearbox gremlins took hold. Remarkably, it was his first non-finish in 137 races, a streak dating back to 2013, and he left Adelaide in 18th place in the championship, nearly 200 points behind his teammate.

“A disappointing end to a bloody tough weekend,” was his succinct summation.

“A result of the crash was a cracked transaxle oil cooler that had been with us throughout the day and was slowly leaking oil, before running out completely and then we had no gearbox in the end. We were as good a chance as anyone to win today’s race … thankfully there’s still a long way to go. If it wasn’t for the gearbox we were looking good for a 1-2 finish in the race.”

It wasn’t only Van Gisbergen who had a familiar story in Adelaide; the third member of the Triple Eight trio, Lowndes, had a weekend that mirrored so many of his outings last year, where he’d qualify down the order but recover to score solid points in the races.

Fifteenth became ninth on Saturday, while Sunday was even better, 17th after qualifying being turned into seventh by the finish. He spent much of the final stint glued to the rear bumper of Courtney’s Commodore, but couldn’t make a move stick.

Craig Lowndes of Autobarn Lowndes Racing during the , at the , , , March 02, 2018.

“I’ve got to admit, James did a great job and drove the car straight,” Lowndes said.

“He was really strong at (Turn) 8, which is what our Achilles’ Heel was. We just couldn’t hang onto him through 8 to attack him into (Turn) 9; we had great braking stability and we had a couple of close shots there, but he did a great job.

“We had strengths in the wrong places.”

A haul of 180 points across the two days sees Lowndes in seventh place overall before he, SVG and J-Dub head to Melbourne in three weeks to the Australian Grand Prix – and this time, the Albert Park races are for real, the Melbourne 400 seeing championship points awarded at the Formula One season-opener for the very first time. “I need a change and I can’t wait,” to quote Neil Finn. Neil, neither can we…