Red Bull Racing Australia has completed a near perfect start to its 2013 debut season with Craig Lowndes and reigning champion Jamie Whincup one-two in the championship following the Clipsal 500.
It was the Triple Eight built Commodore of Shane Van Gisbergen that took the chequered flag in race two, but a second and third to Whincup and Lowndes leaves the No.1 and No.888 cars atop the championship ladder like they finished last season – only the positions are now reversed with Lowndes leading the pack.
The race wasn’t without incident, with the team-mates rubbing panels in the first few laps after the restart of the race following a safety car period.
“I had to have a crack,” Lowndes said with his trademark grin.
“Jamie got a little wheel spin off turn six, got a little wide and opened the door. I was on the dirty stuff and went wide, and then Russell came up and I thought well, let’s have another crack at him. You don’t want a boring race.”
Whincup found serious pace overnight after a malfunction was discovered with his suspension, allowing the car to better evenly distribute the Holden’s horsepower. He looked like having the win sewn up mid-race, only for a short-stop pit strategy by Van Gisbergen to shuffle him down a peg.
“It was a great drive from Gis and his team and you can’t take anything away from that,”
“The car was much better today. It was a handful yesterday and I was very, very slow.”
“The pace out there was pretty hot. We were going flat-out from wo-to-go. We came in early so had a little less fuel and didn’t quite get that five second gap we needed. But we had the second quickest car out there and bring on the next race.
“We had a few issues over the weekend which we dealt with as best we could but we came pretty good today and that battle with Craig, well, it was exciting. It definitely made the end of the race interesting. But we showed good pace and for Red Bull Racing Australia to be one-two after the first weekend, the whole team couldn’t ask for much more.
“What an awesome start.”
All three grid positions were occupied by Triple Eight built cars.