V8SC | Whincup wins the weekend in Pukekohe NZ

2015 V8 Supercars Championship | ITM 500 Auckland

Article and Images by Rhys Vandersyde

V8 Supercars | ITM 500 Auckland – Sunday

ITM 500 Auckland Sunday

Pukekohe Raceway greeted more than 116,000 Kiwi fans over the course of the V8 Supercars ITM 500 event with today’s the final 200 kilometres of racing putting a full stop on the event in New Zealand before heading back to Australia.

Championship contender, Craig Lowndes, was back on track today after a lengthy overnight repair by the Red Bull Racing Australia crew. The damage suffered to his Holden Commodore in yesterday’s crash was so extensive that the chassis needed to be transported to a local smash repairer for major repairs. Work was completed at 7:30am this morning just in time for Lowndes to take to the track for qualifying.

Qualifying for Race 30

Local favourite, Scott McLaughlin (Wilson Security Racing), made the most of the 20 minute qualifying session to determine the grid for Race 30. McLaughlin set the fastest time with a 1:03.1629 in his Volvo S60. Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Racing Australia) wasn’t far off that pace with 1:03.1643 in his Holden Commodore.

Scott Pye (DJR Team Penske) and David Reynolds (Bottle-O Racing) make up an all Ford second row with the third and fourth fastest time.

Championship contenders Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew) and Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Australia) lined up alongside each other in ninth and tenth to make up the fifth row of the grid.

Images by Rhys Vandersyde

Race 30

As a result of Lowndes’s crash yesterday, V8 Supercars made some safety amendments to the rules for Race 30 which stated that all cars had to start on the soft tyres and couldn’t reuse them after their first pit stop.

Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Racing Australia) made the most of his front row start to sneak past Scott McLaughlin (Wilson Security Racing) and take an early lead in the race.

Contact between Jason Bright (Team BOC), James Courtney (Holden Racing Team) and Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew) put Courtney and Winterbottom to the back of the field with officials to look at the incident after the race.

Nick Percat (Repair Management Australia Racing) spun on lap 5, stopping on the circuit and putting him out of the race. As a result the Safety Car made its first appearance which saw the entire field dive into pit lane to complete their first pit stop.

Whincup maintained the lead while Lowndes and Scott Pye (DJR Team Penske) made the most of their pit stops to move up the field.

Whincup continued to lead and held on to win the race beating teammate Lowndes with Pye taking the final podium position which was the first podium since Rodger Penske’s joined the team.

Pye was quite happy with the result “We’ve come a long way since I took over from Ambrose in Perth” continuing with “The team has really come together.”

Whincup was grateful and happy to take the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy for the most championship points for the event. “I’m glad to take home to trophy with the trophy bearing the name of my former teammate”.

Championship

As a result of the three races at Pukekohe, Mark Winterbottom’s (Pepsi Max Crew) points lead has again been reduced. David Reynolds (Bottle-O Racing) has moved into second place in the championship now only 239 points behind his Prodrive Racing Australia team mate.

However the pressure is on with Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Australia) now only one single championship point behind Reynolds with 600 points still up for grabs.

Championship Coverage

V8 Supercars action continues in two weeks at Victoria’s Phillip Island Raceway 20th – 22nd November, 2015

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