Whincup Leads the V8Supercars in Adelaide

2015 V8 Supercars Championship | Clipsal 500 (Friday Practice)

Article and Images | Rhys Vandersyde

The V8 Supercars 2015 season kicks off in ernest this weekend with Round 1 of the championship taking place on the streets of Adelaide for the Clipsal 500. Popular with the fans, Adelaide really gets behind the Clipsal 500, with an estimated crowd of 80,000 set to flock to the track for Sunday’s on track action.

Race One

The heat was on even before the race began with Scott McLaughlin’s Volvo (Wilson Security Racing) taking to the warm up lap quite literally by catching fire early in the lap. With fire crews attending to McLaughlin’s car, the start of the race was delayed.

When the lights finally went out for Race one, it was Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Racing Australia) leading the pack and setting the pace with Fabian Coulthard (Holden/Freightliner Racing) and Chaz Mostert (Ford/Pepsi Max Crew) following closely behind after benefiting from McLaughlin’s miss fortune.

The race settled, as teams completed their compulsory pit stop with Whincup still leading.

On lap 28 Will Davison (Erebus Motorsport) would fall victim to the infamous turn eight, hitting the wall hard ending his race and resulting in a Safety Car intervention.

With just one lap until the chequered flag, the safety car peeled into pit lane, leaving a string of cars behind to make the mad dash to gain places on the final lap.

Whincup, however, lead from start to finish with Ford’s Mostert crossing the line in second and Coulthard third. The best of the Nissan’s was James Moffat in 11th while Volvo and Mercedes had one finisher each with David Wall (Volvo/Wilson Security Racing) in 17th and Ashley Walsh (Mercedes/Erebus Motorsport) in twentieth.

Race Two

With a couple of hours between races McLaughlin’s Volvo Polestar S60 was repaired with a full engine change. However, the Erebus crew were not as lucky with Davison’s Mercedes E63 AMG failing to make the grid.

Yet that would not be the end of McLaughlin’s miss fortunes. He was judged as jumping the start after setting off to a sensational lead, where he was penalised with an additional ten seconds on his compulsory pit stop.

While McLaughlin built a lead to account for his penalty, Whincup and Coulthard fought it out behind for what would be the lead of the race after the pit stop.

On Lap 16 the Safety Car was brought out after Nissan’s Michael Caruso ended up in the wall at turn eight suffering substantial damage. Caruso walked away but it would be a big job for the Nissan Motorsport crew to get his car on the grid for Sunday’s race.

Taking advantage of the Safety Car, McLaughlin dived into to pits to complete his stop and fulfil his penalty. However, the V8 Supercar rules dictate that penalties cannot be completed under the Safety Car and McLaughlin was awarded yet another ten second penalty that would be applied to his race result.

The race resumed with Jamie Whincup again in the lead. Though, he’d find his own bad luck with a rear tyre exploding on the entry to turn eight. It was a sensational display of driving by Whincup to keep his Holden Commodore off the walls and make it back to the pits for a replacement tyre. He resumed the race but in last place, which was where he finished.

Whincup’s misfortune was Coulthard’s gain, taking the lead and ultimately winning the race. Holden Racing Team’s James Courtney claimed second with Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Australia) benefiting from McLaughlin’s second penalty to claim third.

Holden Commodores dominated the race taking out the top five places. Nissan was best of the rest with Rick Kelly (Jack Daniel’s Racing) and James Moffat (Nissan Motorsport) taking out sixth and seventh. Ashley Walsh (Erebus Motorsport) on debut was again only the Mercedes to finish, but he notched up a solid eighth. While McLaughlin’s penalty pushed him down to ninth, he was still the best of the Volvo’s. Ford had a shocking day with Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew) the best performer in his new FG/X Falcon finishing eleventh.

V8 Supercar action continues tomorrow with one more qualifying session before the final race of the weekend.

Keep tuned into MyDrive for updates across the weekend

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