In a dominating drive, Jamie Whincup led from flag-to-flag to open the Skycity Triple Crown 400 with a win in Race 17 of the 2014 V8 Supercars season.
The five-time series champion stomped his way to his first race win since Race 5 of the championship at the Symmons Plains Raceway. Whincup’s fourth race win of the season came off of a strong performance in qualifying that placed the Melbourne native on the pole for both of the day’s races.
“It was a really good start to a big hot weekend,” Whincup said. “Both cars were good. We made some improvements over the mini-break, which was nice, so hopefully we can keep this momentum through to the end of the year.”
“We were running mid-pack and we had a few up and down rounds – we don’t like that so we’ve really put our heads down and everyone’s done a really good job. We’ve taken a bit of a risk and it’s paid off. Still a long way to go, but certainly an improvement on the start of the year.”
Whincup kicked his race off to a fantastic start by powering away from Scott McLaughlin (Valvoline Racing GRM) and teammate Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Australia) off the line and into Turn 1 with a lead intact. Lowndes was also able to power his way around the young Kiwi to claim second heading into the first turn as well.
The two Red Bull Racing Australia Holdens began to pull away from the rest of the field in the first third of the race; however, Shane van Gisbergen (Team Tekno VIP Petfoods) began to claw his way to the back bumper of the #888 machine. As Lowndes and van Gisbergen battled, Whincup then stretched his lead over the pair of duelling Commodores to over one second and continued to pull away as the race progressed.
Race 17 provided the Erebus Motorsport V8 team with their share of ups and downs after Will Davison retired from the race on Lap 14 suffering a loss of power steering and issues with the balance of the car. Teammate Lee Holdsworth then experienced a venture off of the race course running wide and losing several race positions on Lap 22. Holdsworth managed to rally (no pun intended) from his off-track excursion to turn in a 10th-place finish.
As Whincup continued to extend his already impressive lead, Lowndes and van Gisbergen continued their fight for second, while Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team) gave it all he had to defend the fifth position from Mark Winterbottom (Ford Pepsi Max Crew.) Tander and Winterbottom fought throughout the race without any major run-ins between the two. At the end of the race, both Tander and Lowndes would prevail in their respective battles.
Top-10 Finishers of Race 17 – Skycity Triple Crown 400
1. 1 – Jamie Whincup – Holden – Red Bull Racing Australia
2. 888 – Craig Lowndes – Holden – Red Bull Racing Australia
3. 97 – Shane van Gisbergen – Holden – Team Tekno VIP Petfoods
4. 33 – Scott McLaughlin – Volvo – Valvoline Racing GRM
5. 2 – Garth Tander – Holden – Holden Racing Team
6. 5 – Mark Winterbottom – Ford – Ford Pepsi Max Crew
7. 8 – Jason Bright – Holden – Team BOC
8. 22 – James Courtney – Holden – Holden Racing Team
9. 14 – Fabian Coulthard – Holden – Lockwood Racing
10. 4 – Lee Holdsworth – Mercedes-Benz – Erebus Motorsport V8