Jamie Whincup takes victory in race two at Sandown Photo Credit: TeamVodafone

Jamie Whincup takes victory in race two at Sandown Photo Credit: TeamVodafone

Jamie Whincup has tightened his grip on a third V8 Supercars championship after winning the final race of the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge – his 10th victory of 2011.

Whincup now holds a 188-point lead over the Championship's only other title contender Craig Lowndes, who finished fourth and conceded 30 points to his TeamVodafone team-mate. A slow start from the second row of the grid for Lowndes meant he lost vital positions before the first corner and a subsequent reverse pit-stop strategy failed to pay off.

In stark contrast to race one's wet and treacherous conditions, the race remained dry and Whincup controlled the 65-lap, 200-kilometre contest from flag to finish. Two Safety Car periods for debris slowed the field during the race, the first of which on lap 17 proved a controversial moment. Whincup and Orrcon Steel FPR's Mark Winterbottom made minor contact as Whincup returned to the circuit from the pits and into Winterbottom's path. A drive-through penalty was feared for an unsafe release but both continued without issue.

“The car was on rails today and the guys did a great job in the stops,” said Whincup.

“It was just a matter of getting there at the end. I couldn't be happier. Both cars have been quick all year. We take the battle to Sydney, which is the way it should be,” he continued.

Ford Performance Racing continued its late-season offensive with Winterbottom and Trading Post FPR's Will Davison securing the final two podium places. Starting from second on the grid, Winterbottom pursued Whincup but was unable to get on racing terms with the TeamVodafone driver. However, the Safety Car deployment and some polished pit-stops kept him in contention and he went on to take second at the chequered flag. Davison meanwhile, overhauled Lowndes to snatch third ahead of an exciting four-way battle between the pair and Winterbottom and Toll Holden Racing's Garth Tander over the final ten laps. Tander who came through from 16th finished fifth behind Lowndes to keep his battle with Winterbottom for the championship’s third place alive. SP Tools Racing's Shane van Gisbergen finished in a hard-fought sixth despite an off-track excursion on lap 18 after his pitstop and an unscheduled pit-stop four laps later to replace a set of flat-spotted tyres. Battling Lee Holdsworth for most of the race, Lucky 7 Racing's Tim Slade eventually passed the Fujitsu Racing GRM driver on the last lap to cross the line in seventh place. Race one winner, Jack Daniels Racing's Rick Kelly and Steve Owen who took the VIP Petfoods Commodore from 27th to tenth, rounded out the top ten.

With just two races remaining, Whincup only needs to finish fourth in race one at the Homebush circuit in Sydney next month to secure the title. Lowndes on the other hand, will need to finish ahead of his teammate in both races and hope Whincup runs into trouble in at least one race to make off with the championship.

The final event is the Sydney Telstra 500 in a fortnight's time.

Race 26 results:

Pos

Entrant

Driver

Vehicle

Fastest Lap

Fastest Lap Time

Race Time

Laps

Points

1 TeamVodafone Jamie Whincup Commodore VE2

50

01:10:4169 01:22:18:5569

65

150

2 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon Mark Winterbottom Falcon FG

45

01:10:6361 01:22:20:5335

65

138

3 Trading Post FPR Falcon Will Davison Falcon FG

45

01:10:5568 01:22:21:4345

65

129

4 TeamVodafone Craig Lowndes Commodore VE2

45

01:10:4606 01:22:21:9964

65

120

5 Toll Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Commodore VE2

46

01:10:3399 01:22:22:4615

65

111

6 SP Tools Racing Shane van Gisbergen Falcon FG

45

01:10:5052 01:22:31:1631

65

102

7 Lucky 7 Racing Tim Slade Falcon FG

46

01:10:7557 01:22:31:7551

65

96

8 Fujitsu Racing GRM Lee Holdsworth Commodore VE2

21

01:10:4648 01:22:32:5611

65

90

9 Jack Daniel’s Racing Rick Kelly Commodore VE2

42

01:10:7991 01:22:33:4369

65

84

10 VIP Petfoods Steve Owen Commodore VE2

18

01:10:9989 01:22:36:0217

65

78

11 Toll Holden Racing Team James Courtney Commodore VE2

43

01:10:6874 01:22:37:8432

65

72

12 Bundaberg Racing Fabian Coulthard Commodore VE2

46

01:11:1432 01:22:39:1275

65

69

13 Stratco Racing David Reynolds Commodore VE2

17

01:11:0678 01:22:42:7136

65

66

14 Jana Living Racing Jason Bargwanna Commodore VE2

6

01:11:6902 01:22:45:7398

65

63

15 Irwin Racing Alex Davison Falcon FG

46

01:10:8251 01:22:46:0805

65

60

16 Mother Energy Racing Team Jonathon Webb Falcon FG

18

01:11:1741 01:22:51:0280

65

57

17 Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing Karl Reindler Commodore VE2

2

01:11:5023 01:22:51:4566

65

54

18 Wilson Security Racing Tony D’Alberto Falcon FG

3

01:11:5682 01:22:51:7285

65

51

19 Triple F Racing Dean Fiore Falcon FG

45

01:11:3457 01:22:57:2579

65

48

20 Jack Daniel’s Racing Todd Kelly Commodore VE2

46

01:11:1214 01:22:57:3619

65

45

21 Pepsi Max Crew Greg Murphy Commodore VE2

4

01:11:6110 01:23:04:2090

65

42

22 Fujitsu Racing GRM Michael Caruso Commodore VE2

18

01:10:7776 01:23:16:5800

65

39

23 Supercheap Auto Racing Russell Ingall Commodore VE2

46

01:11:0751 01:23:18:6152

65

36

24 Gulf Western Oil Racing Warren Luff Commodore VE2

45

01:11:4606 01:22:42:2904

64

33

25 Jim Beam Racing James Moffat Falcon FG

20

01:11:2080 01:22:27:2211

63

30

26 Team BOC Andrew Jones Commodore VE2

52

01:11:5433 01:22:54:5881

60

27

DNF Jim Beam Racing Steven Johnson Falcon FG

21

01:11:4410 01:03:23:3125

49

0

DNF The Bottle-O Racing Team Paul Dumbrell Falcon FG

7

01:11:2336 33:37:2059

26

0