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Three the hard way in punishing Perth

A pair of podiums for Jamie Whincup were the reward for the Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s perseverance on a tough Supercars weekend at Barbagallo.

SVG and J-Dub had to settle for second-best

Jamie Whincup could have chosen to see his glass as half-empty, but the Red Bull Holden Racing Team star was adamant; yes, he and the Triple Eight team had a tough weekend in the west at the Perth SuperSprint, but a pair of Holden podiums on a weekend where Ford ruled the roost was no bad thing.

“Two podiums here is a great result for us,” Whincup began as the sun set over Barbagallo Raceway on Sunday night, Scott McLaughlin smiling widest after a pair of wins across the weekend.

“Everyone is being all doom and gloom over the competition we are facing, but it’s awesome for the category.”

‘Awesome’ would be one apt adjective to describe the weekend for DJR Team Penske, with McLaughlin winning on Saturday after teammate Fabian Coulthard took pole, and then backing it up from pole on Sunday to score a maximum of 300 points for the weekend. All things considered, a pair of third places for Whincup was a solid result, and one that narrowed his deficit to Coulthard at the head of the series standings from 46 points to 22, climbing to third place overall.

Seven seconds adrift of McLaughlin on Saturday, six seconds in arrears on Sunday – it was a weekend of perseverance for the six-time Supercars champ.

It was two podiums in two days for Whincup

“It was a fairly uneventful day, to be honest,” Whincup said after 83 laps on Sunday.

“It was a long old tyre game, as it always is around here. We would love to have a win, so would the other 25 drivers in the category, but we will get there. It’s not too far away. We will keep chipping away as we always do, it’s that extra one per cent that’s needed.”

Whincup fared the best of the Triple Eight triumvirate in Perth; reigning series champion Shane van Gisbergen was, for once, largely relegated into the background, finishing fourth from the same position on the grid on Saturday, and then sixth from a second-row start 24 hours later. Coulthard extended his series lead over compatriot Van Gisbergen from seven to 19 points, but SVG was more keen to focus on the future than lament the past afterwards.

“The car felt OK, but we are still lacking pace,” he said.

“We just aren’t fast enough, and from my point of view, it was a pretty uneventful race. I didn’t pass anyone until my last lap, I just kept driving around.

“We’ve had better weekends, that’s for sure, but all we can do is keep pushing and crunching the numbers to keep up the front.”

It was a low-key weekend in Perth for SVG

Craig Lowndes was more in the thick of the action than his T8 stablemates; the veteran was seventh from ninth on the grid on Saturday in a solid result, but his eighth place on Sunday was far more eventful.

‘Lowndesy’ qualified 18th, started from the very back after an electrical issue shut the car down on the way to the grid, got punted by Alex Rullo at the final corner and turned around, and then fought his way inside the top 10 from the very back. After all that, he improved a place to eighth in the overall standings, 238 points off Coulthard’s series-leading tally of 802 after the first eight races of the season.

Lowndes fought back hard on a turbulent Sunday

It won’t be long until J-Dub, SVG and Lowndesy get a chance to make amends for Perth; the Supercars series next heads to Winton in Victoria, with races nine and 10 set to take place from May 19-21.