V8 Supercars – TeamVodafone secures another 1-2 victory at the Falken Tasmania Challenge‏

November 12, 2011

V8 Supercars

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Jamie Whincup managed a feat Australia’s cricketers would have yearned for – a half century – as he took one more small step towards a third career V8 Supercar Championship at Symmons Plains in Tasmania today.

Whincup extended his Championship lead by a handful of points over TeamVodafone team-mate Craig Lowndes with his win in race one of the Falken Tasmania Challenge, notching up 50 race victories in his stellar career. Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander stormed home for third.

A perfect race played out for Whincup who was unchallenged effectively throughout. Aside from one safety car for a wheel that fell of Greg Murphy’s Commodore the rest of the field did not get close. Lowndes chipped away for second and Tander exploited a late clash between FPR team-mates Will Davison and Mark Winterbottom for third.

“The Ford guys were very strong yesterday so we knew we had out work cut out to have a strong run today,” Whincup said.

“To do what we did today you need quick cars and both were unbelievably strong. The pit guys did a phenomenal job and I was able to control the race from there.

“I tell you guys week in, week out that I don’t worry about the Championship until after the Gold Coast race and here we are. It’s now all about Championship now and every race is ultra important for the rest of the year.

“It’s good to get a great start to what I call the finish. We just have to keep our head down and focused each weekend.”

Lowndes battled with Shane van Gisbergen for the majority of the race, until a locked brake from the young Kiwi sent the SP Tools Falcon tumbling back down the order.

“We got a reasonable start and had a great battle throughout the race with Shane van Gisbergen,” said Lowndes.

“We had a couple of passing opportunities that needed to be done but by then Jamie was too far in front. Second was the best we could do today. There are a lot of points still to be had but I’ve got to beat Jamie to make any dent on his Championship lead.

“While we’re running second we’re not doing that so we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”

Tander was extremely quick today, promising to challenge more tomorrow.

“This is like a win for us because we beat the two guys that we’re challenging for third place in the championship,” said Tander, referring to van Gisbergen and Winterbottom.

“We had some dramas with the car in qualifying so we should have been better than where we were. A few guys made some mistakes in front of us which made it easier, but the car was really good and I look forward to qualifying a bit further up for tomorrow.”

The race was quite straight forward until the first pit stops which cost Winterbottom dearly. His FPR team did a good stop but Winterbottom seemed to get a little held up on exit, shunting him back down to fifth on running order.

The first safety car pushed the field back together after Murphy lost his rear right wheel on his Pepsi Crew Commodore. Whincup smashed the restart, however, again assuming control of the race.

Earlier a qualifying penalty meant that combatants Paul Dumbrell and Van Gisbergen from starting side by side on the grid after their verbal stoushes of the pat few weeks.

A fresh qualifying session tomorrow morning previews a longer 200km race in the afternoon.

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