2015 V8 Supercars Championship | Coates Hire Sydney 500
Article and Images by Rhys Vandersyde
V8 Supercars | Coates Hire Sydney 500 Friday
A sensational summer’s day greeted teams and fans for Saturday’s action around the streets of Sydney’s Olympic Park. The V8 Supercars would feature a busy Saturday schedule with one more practice session, before two short ten minute qualifying sessions to determine the grid for the two 125 kilometre races (Races 34 and 35 of the championship).
The 20 minute practice session would be interrupted by the red flag twice. The first when Tim Blanchard (Cooldrive Racing) collected the wall at Turn 9 and the second when Jason Bright (Team BOC) found the wall at Turn 8. Both cars were repaired in time to take part in qualifying.
Qualifying – Race 34
The first qualifying session was almost interrupted again by the red flag when James Moffat (Nissan Motorsport) collected the tyre wall at Turn 11 in the closing minute of the session.
However with just a few seconds on left, the session was left to run with Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew) doing the best for his championship aspirations, to put his car on pole for Race 34 with Shane Van Gisbergen (Team Darrell Lea) setting a time good enough for second on the grid.
On return from injury, Holden Racing Team’s James Courtney crossed the line for third with Team BOC’s Jason Bright lining up alongside in fourth to make up the second row of the grid.
Qualifying – Race 35
The second qualifying session only featured 23 cars, with James Moffat’s (Nissan Motorsport) car unable to be repaired in time to compete in the session. Tim Slade (Supercheap Auto Racing) was also heavily damaged and didn’t make the session.
Outgoing V8 Supercars Champion, Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Racing Australia) showed his pace in the second session locking in 1:27.6420 to put his car on pole for Race 35. David Reynolds (Botte-O Racing) was quick enough to start alongside on the front row. Making up the second row was Shane Van Gisbergen (Team Darrell Lea) and Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew).
Championship leader Mark Winterbottom used his front row start to claim an early race lead, but slick pit stops from the Red Bull Racing Australia crew jumped Whincup to the front of the pack along a trouble free run to the finish. Adopting the same strategy, Whincup’s teammate Craig Lowndes moved him from 25th to 15th, giving him in a slim chance of stealing the title from Winterbottom who finished fifth.
Jamie Whincup took the win Race 34 with Shane Van Gisbergen (Team Darrell Lea) crossing the line in second and Jason Bright (Team BOC) in third.
Race 35 was all Whincup’s who led the race from start to finish with David Reynolds close behind in second place. However the story of the race would be Mark Winterbottom taking third place and securing a handy 220 point lead in the Championship with only 175 points available to challengers on Sunday.
A seventh place for Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Australia) won’t be enough to challenge for the Championship in the final race on Sunday although Winterbottom still needs a trouble free race (without penalties) to claim his first V8 Supercars title.
V8 Supercars action continues tomorrow with final race of the 2015 Championship.
Keep tuned into MyDrive for updates throughout the Coates Hire Sydney 500.
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For details on the V8 Supercars Championship, click > www.v8supercars.com.au
For Foxtel coverage details, click > www.foxtel.com.au
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