Red Bull Racing Australia has maintained its impressive home track record at Queensland Raceway after reigning champion Jamie Whincup extended his championship lead to claim the first of three races.
Just 111 points ahead of team-mate Craig Lowndes in the V8 Supercars championship heading into a round where Lowndes has won the past five races straight, Whincup needed something special. And after claiming pole position the 30-year-old led from start to finish to win from Scott McLaughlin and Mark Winterbottom, and break Lowndes’ stranglehold at Ipswich.
“It’s great to bounce back from Townsville where the Victorian teams stole our silverware,” Whincup said.
“It’s never nice not to perform to your best but we worked hard and we obviously had a good car. We threw on some greens and we had a really good race. But we’ll still look at a few things overnight and hopefully keep it up tomorrow.”
A largely carnage-free race, it wasn’t without its controversy with Lowndes placed under investigation post race for a first-lap collision with Winterbottom.
“I had a good run on the inside of the Fabian Coulthard into turn three and I pulled it up,” Lowndes said.
“My impression is that Coulthard overshot it and he had the contact with Frosty. There’s not a mark on my car. I didn’t feel anything. Overall for the day we’re a little disappointed, we didn’t quite have what we hoped in terms of set-up. We made a change at half-time and went a step forward but we didn’t quite fix the problem. But tomorrow’s a new day and we’ve got two races to get back there.”
Qualifying for each of the two remaining 120km races will take place tomorrow morning with racing to commence at 1.45pm. Whincup’s win brings up 19 wins for the VF Commodores this season, wrapping up the manufacturers’ title for Holden.
Meanwhile, MotoGP convert Stoner made a definitive statement about his four-wheel future by posting the second-fastest time in race one of the Dunlop Series weekend round.
Having set the fastest time in first practice and qualified in seventh, Stoner escaped unscathed from early chaos on lap one before his race was undone on just lap 3 of 14 when he was spun from behind.
The Red Bull Pirtek Holden was relegated to last but Stoner recovered 12 positions and set the equal second-fastest time in the process to be the fastest man on track in the final laps.
“It’s no secret we’ve been plagued by bad luck all year and I think what’s most disappointing is that the weekend format doesn’t allow for recovery,” Stoner said.
“We had great speed and with the pace we had, a podium position was a big possibility. But to be turned around, which happens with this format because everyone is under so much pressure in such short races, it ends up costing you for the rest of weekend. We don’t get to qualify again.
“We were quick and I think we could have gone faster again but we needed to preserve our tyres for Sunday. We’re improving but racing is about results. I’m going to have to drive my arse off tomorrow.”
Stoner will contest two more 14-lap races on Sunday but with no qualifying will be forced to start race two from the same position, 17th, he finished race one.
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