Whincup Surprise Race 3 Win – V8 Supercars

2015 V8 Supercars Championship | Tyrepower Tasmania Supersprints

(Round 2 – Qualifying and Race Six)

Article and Images | Rhys Vandersyde –

MyDrive | 2015 V8 Supercars Championship - A chilly but sunny start to the final day of V8 Supercars action at Symmons Plains Raceway saw fans arrive at the track early to meet their favourite drivers and to see the cars up close during the True Colour track walk.

After yesterday’s exciting finish, focus shifted towards qualifying and the final 84 lap race of the weekend, which would involve teams using hard and soft tyre compounds for the first time this season.

Qualifying

With only 20 minutes set for qualifying, teams scrambled in and out of pit lane as they worked to find the best set up for both tyre compounds.

Red Bull Racing Australia’s Craig Lowndes continued to set the benchmark this weekend leading with the best tyre choice and setup during the session.

With only five minutes left in the session, the entire field scampered onto the track only to compromise the faster teams with those still experiencing set up issues.

With lap times continuing to fall, Lowndes stunned the Tasmanian crowd with a pole position winning time of 51.7 seconds. David Reynolds (Bottle-O Racing/Ford) was the next best a time of 51.8 seconds, which narrowly beat Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Racing Australia/Holden).

Will Davison’s impressive form helped push the Erebus Motorsport Mercedes E63 AMG into fourth position, while Scott McLaughlin bounced back to eleventh position with issues continuing to plague Volvo Polestar Racing. Nissan continued to struggle with Rick Kelly (Jack Daniel’s Racing) only managing nineteenth.

Race 6

With the cars lining up on the grid, ominous clouds rolled in although the leaders looked ready to make the most of a clear track and fresh soft rubber to take an early lead over the field.

David Reynolds made the most of his front row start launching into the lead before turn one. However, Craig Lowndes made his first mistake of the weekend by making contact with Reynolds and spinning him off the circuit.

Reynolds re-joined the race at the back of the pack while race control gave Lowndes a drive through penalty for the contact. The incident effectively put Jamie Whincup in the race lead with Lowndes still to serve his penalty.

With a lap distance of 2.41 kilometres (1.50 miles) and lap times under 53 seconds, Shane Van Gisbergen (Team Darrell Lea), Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team) and Chaz Mostert (Pepsi Max Crew) were all in contention for the lead before the first round of pit stops.

Early victims of the frantic pace were David Wall (Wilson Security Racing) having to retire his Volvo S60 due to engine issues. Similarly, Will Davison (Erebus Motorsport) also had issues and was forced to stop for lengthy repairs after heavy on track contact.

As team strategies played out, the leaders on lap nineteen started to complete the first of two stops with most opting to short fill and switch to the hard tyre compound in an effort to maintain lap and track position.

By the second stop, Whincup regained the lead with Mostert and Van Gisbergen continuing to apply pressure to the V8 Supercars Champion. Driver’s that saved their soft tyres in the first stint would benefit the most as the race drew closer to the chequered flag.

Carving his way through the pack, Lowndes recovered from his earlier penalty to end up crossing the line in sixth place with his team mate Whincup proving too quick for the challengers crossing the line in first place. Mostert in the final laps dropped off the pace to conserve his tyres and ensure a second place result. Van Gisbergen had to adopt a similar strategy taking the final position on the podium.

Whincup seemed somewhat surprised by his win “I thought my set up this weekend was rather average and I expected Craig [Lowndes] to clean sweep the round” said the six-time V8 Supercars Champion.

Outside of Ford and Holden, Scott McLaughlin was the best of the rest pushing his Volvo S60 into seventh place. Todd and Rick Kelly in their Nissan Altimas finished in thirteenth and fourteenth respectively while Ashley Walsh in the Erebus Motorsport Mercedes crossed the line in 21st position.

The Championship

A solid haul of points from round two has Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Racing) leading the Championship with 483 points and James Courtney (Holden Racing Team) close behind on 464. Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Australia) finishing in sixth in the final race puts him into third position on 460 points.

Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew) represents the best of the Ford championship contenders in sixth place with 433 points with Rick Kelly maintaining a top ten position on 299 points. With issues continuing to plague the Volvo of Scott McLaughlin, he finds himself down in 13th position and Mercedes’s Will Davison in 21st.

Stay tuned to MyDrive for more motorsport coverage, including Round three of the V8 Supercars Championship from Perth’s Barbagello Raceway in May.

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