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Jamie sets the pace at the Sydney 500

The scene has been set for an electrifying finale of the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship at the Sydney NRMA Motoring and Services 500 with Jamie Whincup throwing down the fastest lap of the day. The Red Bull Racing Australia drivers, Whincup and Craig Lowndes, are sitting first and second respectively on the championship ladder, with just 20 points separating the pair, and FPR driver Mark Winterbottom rounding out in third.

Whincup is looking to take out his fifth championship title and is on the right track with a lap of 1min27.70 but without a win at the Sydney circuit under his belt, he knows that it’s going to be a fierce battle to the end.

“Coming to Sydney is a massive change,” Whincup said.

“It was the same thing at Phillip Island, you come from a nice flowing circuit to a crazy little street track so it was a bit of a shock to the system.

“I wasn’t able to put together two laps the same. I’d do a good half a lap and then a bad second half, so I’m working on improving my driving. We also took some paint off today so hopefully that’s the end of that for the rest of the weekend.”

Teammate Lowndes is looking to secure his fourth V8 Supercars Championship crown, a title he last claimed in 1999. With an impressive track record at the concrete jungle, Lowndes has to date been the only repeat race winner in the Sydney 500’s short but spectacular history but notes it’s a track that always throws a curve ball.

“I’ve got a good record down at Sydney Olympic Park so I’m excited to be here this weekend,” Lowndes said.

“The car is very different to what we had last year so getting the car set up to ride the kerbs is a bit of a challenge but all in all I’m quite happy and may the best man win.”

Meanwhile two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner took his maiden spin on the Sydney circuit with two practice sessions rounding out the day.

“The track isn’t what I expected,” Stoner said.

“The biggest thing for me is just getting to know the track better. It’s not the kind of place you can push limits and make mistakes, it’s going to hurt you if you do anything wrong. We’ve just been trying to pick up the pace slowly without damaging ourselves so hopefully we’ll be there tomorrow.”

Qualifying for Race 35 begins at 11:55 AEDT with the twilight race kicking off at 5:10pm. To check out all the action head to www.v8superview.com.