Jamie Whincup has claimed a record breaking sixth V8 Supercars Championship title in dominant fashion with victory in race two of the Phillip Island 400.
Whincup drove his name into the history books with his 87th career win to secure his fourth consecutive title and become the most successful V8 Supercar driver of all time.
Starting from pole, Whincup lost the lead to Championship rival Mark Winterbottom on the opening lap, but by lap four the Red Bull Racing master got a run on Winterbottom passing the Ford Performance Racing Falcon as it ran wide at the first corner. Whincup then powered away to take the chequered flag in the day’s second 100km race.
“It’s always nice to gather up the championship with a race win,” said Whincup.
“It’s a bit of a weird feeling to lock away the championship with a round to go because there is still a lot of pride on the line for the final races and we don’t want to let ourselves down right to the very end.
“It’s a great result and full credit to the entire team, the car was fantastic today. It’s a special championship win because this year has thrown up its own challenges particularly with our mid-year slump. Had we won, lost or drawn, I’m proud of how we’ve been able to turn that slump around, there’s a lot of grinding that goes on behind the scenes with the whole team and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of that.
“Having won six championships is a weird feeling that I can’t describe at the moment. I’m sure it will mean everything when I look back at it and it has a chance to sink in. My motivation and love for racing is higher than ever and I’m looking forward to enjoying the next few races.”
Having started third, Craig Lowndes followed his team-mate past Winterbottom a few laps later to take second and give the Red Bull Racing Australia team a one-two finish, leaving Winterbottom to round out the podium.
Garth Tander echoed his race 33 result with a charge up the grid that saw him narrowly miss the podium with another fourth place finish.
The Nissan Altima’s continued to be competitive with three cars in the top ten and the fourth ending up just outside it in eleventh. Todd Kelly led the rest of his team home, fending off Scott McLaughlin’s Volvo to finish fifth. Michael Caruso and Rick Kelly settled to seventh and eighth respectively.
Chaz Mostert made up for his poor finish earlier in the day as he took ninth ahead of Nick Percat who was shuffled back to tenth.
Fabian Coulthard gained the most places after having to start at the back end of the grid for the second race in a row. Coulthard made up nine places to finish in 16th.
Another driver in a similar situation was Shane van Gisbergen who managed to stay out of trouble and make up 6 places to finish 18th.
The race was relatively incident free despite the frantic opening laps with only minor incidents throughout. Along with a number of drivers running wide through turn one there was contact between Tim Slade and Lee Holdsworth at turn ten that saw the pair tour the infield. Slade’s ambitious passing attempt left him with steering damage that put him five laps off the pace in last.
The round concludes with a 200km race tomorrow.