Jamie Whincup and SÃ©bastien Bourdais have won today’s opening 300km race on the Surfers Paradise street circuit, edging out Will Davison and Mika Salo and their sister factory-backed team-mates Mark Winterbottom and Richard Lyons, in a race intensified by safety car appearances and strategy selections.
The final V8's endurance event features 28 invited internationals sharing the cars with their regular championship drivers. And with all teams opting to have their international co-drivers start the race, Bourdais, the only man to have won the Gold Coast Indy race twice, was determined to create even more history and become the first driver to win in both Indycars and V8 Supercars on the streets of Surfers Paradise.
Bourdais put in a flawless opening 35-lap stint from pole, building a 13 second gap on the next car before handing over to Whincup. With debris on track initiating a third and final safety car, Whincup conserved fuel, averting the need for another pitstop to claim his fifth series win at the Gold Coast and his seventh win of the year.
Crucially for Whincup, he now regains the championship lead after Team Vodafone teammate Craig Lowndes‘ misfortunes resulted in a DNF. Lowndes's 100-point lead following his Bathurst 1000 win two weeks ago was slashed to a deficit of 50 points. Lowndes and co-driver Andy Priaulx had suffered electrical issues in qualifying and continued to have problems before the race forcing Priaulx to start from pitlane. The Holden Commodore was in and out of the pits as the team tried to fix the fault, but Lowndes was forced to retire after a stray bollard damaged the radiator on the 81st lap.
“I love the streets of the Gold Coast!” said Whincup.
“SÃ©bastien did an awesome job, he handed it over to me in the perfect position and it was just up to me to bring it home.”
Just 2.2 seconds behind Whincup was the Ford Performance Racing Falcon shared by Will Davison and Mika Salo. Despite Salo jumping the start and having ten seconds added to his first pit stop, he gained a near-10-second lead over the next car by the end of his stint. Davison then brought the #5 Falcon home to record his and the team's best finish of the season.
And it was a double-podium finish for Ford Performance Racing as Mark Winterbottom fought back brilliantly from almost a lap down to get on to the final spot of the podium after last-minute replacement co-driver, Northern Irishman Richard Lyons not only had to start from 17th on the grid, but also served a drive through penalty for shunting Irwin Racing's Marc Lieb into the Turn 14 exit wall on lap 18.
Pursuing Winterbottom in the closing stages was the hard charging Jim Beam Racing Falcon of James Moffat, co-driven by American Joey Hand. Having led the race for 35 laps after staying out under the second safety car deployment, Moffat finally refuelled with only 15 laps remaining. With fresh tyres and the final safety car bunching the field, Moffat picked off several cars to claim fourth, setting the fastest lap of the race and the lap record in the process.
After co-driver Patrick Long had made an impressive start climbing five places in the first lap, Bundaberg Racing's Fabian Coulthard also made a lot of ground to finish fifth staying out with Moffat during the second safety car appearance. Pepsi Max Crew's Greg Murphy and Oliver Gavin, Jack Daniel's Racing's Rick Kelly and Jorg Bergmeister, Fujitsu Racing GRM drivers Michael Caruso and Augusto Farfus, Mother Energy Racing Team's Jonathon Webb and Gil de Ferran and Fujitsu Racing GRM drivers Lee Holdsworth and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top ten.
Just missing out on the top-ten was Bathurst 1000 winner, Garth Tander. With the international drivers having to complete a minimum of 34 laps, Tander's Toll Holden Racing Team co-driver Ryan Briscoe pitted a lap short, due to a miscommunicated call. The pair had to pit again to allow Briscoe to complete another lap when the opportunity arose under the safety car on lap 49, but they dropped down the order as a result. Tander then lost more time under the second safety car as he lined up behind team-mate James Courtney in the pits who was also boxed in by the two Jack Daniel's Racing cars.
The final leg will be run on Sunday, with the top-scoring international driver winning the Dan Wheldon Memorial Trophy, a new award in honour of the late IndyCar star who had been set to contest this weekend's event with James Courtney.
Race 21 Results:
|Pos||Entrant||Driver||Vehicle||Fastest Lap||Fastest Lap Time||Race Time||Laps||Points|
|1||TeamVodafone||Jamie Whincup / Sebastian Bourdais||Commodore VE2||97||01:11:6865||02:13:21:5515||102||150|
|2||Trading Post FPR Falcon||Will Davison / Mika Salo||Falcon FG||96||01:12:6686||02:13:23:7417||102||138|
|3||Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon||Mark Winterbottom / Richard Lyons||Falcon FG||101||01:12:2977||02:13:24:0198||102||129|
|4||Jim Beam Racing||James Moffat / Joey Hand||Falcon FG||99||01:11:3020||02:13:24:3234||102||120|
|5||Bundaberg Racing||Fabian Coulthard / Patrick Long||Commodore VE2||102||01:12:0323||02:13:27:3948||102||111|
|6||Pepsi Max Crew||Greg Murphy / Oliver Gavin||Commodore VE2||64||01:12:8150||02:13:28:6881||102||102|
|7||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly / Jorg Bergmeister||Commodore VE2||72||01:12:8667||02:13:33:9845||102||96|
|8||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Michael Caruso / Augusto Farfus Jr||Commodore VE2||79||01:12:2442||02:13:35:1554||102||90|
|9||Mother Energy Racing Team||Jonathon Webb / Gil de Ferran||Falcon FG||88||01:11:8573||02:13:36:5708||102||84|
|10||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Lee Holdsworth / Simon Pagenaud||Commodore VE2||87||01:12:3749||02:13:38:3600||102||78|
|11||Toll Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander / Ryan Briscoe||Commodore VE2||65||01:12:8777||02:13:38:3741||102||72|
|12||Lucky 7 Racing||Tim Slade / Helio Castroneves||Falcon FG||72||01:12:7869||02:13:38:6205||102||69|
|13||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly / Richard Westbrook||Commodore VE2||95||01:12:5631||02:13:38:9841||102||66|
|14||Toll Holden Racing Team||James Courtney / Darren Turner||Commodore VE2||44||01:12:8328||02:13:42:2283||102||63|
|15||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Paul Dumbrell / Christian Klein||Falcon FG||47||01:13:0291||02:13:43:6123||102||60|
|16||SP Tools Racing||Shane van Gisbergen / Emanuele Pirro||Falcon FG||75||01:12:5124||02:13:45:4316||102||57|
|17||Jana Living Racing||Jason Bargwanna / Allan Simonsen||Commodore VE2||74||01:13:2757||02:13:47:4393||102||54|
|18||VIP Petfoods||Steve Owen / Boris Said||Commodore VE2||68||01:12:6251||02:13:50:4773||102||51|
|19||Stratco Racing||David Reynolds / Alex Tagliani||Commodore VE2||64||01:12:9075||02:13:51:1914||100||48|
|20||Westrac Racing||Dean Fiore / Gianni Morbidelli||Falcon FG||94||01:13:0722||02:14:09:6162||100||45|
|21||Team Boc||Jason Bright / Sarrazin Stephane||Commodore VE2||73||01:13:1356||02:13:53:7629||99||42|
|22||Supercheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall / Jan Magnussen||Commodore VE2||39||01:13:1343||02:14:27:5129||97||39|
|23||Irwin Racing||Alex Davison / Marc Lieb||Falcon FG||58||01:13:4668||02:13:57:6370||78||36|
|DNF||Wilson Security Racing||Tony D’Alberto / Vitantonio Liuzzi||Falcon FG||46||01:13:1534||02:13:31:6118||75||0|
|DNF||TeamVodafone||Craig Lowndes / Andy Priaulx||Commodore VE2||26||01:12:6441||01:41:17:3821||52||0|
|DNF||Jim Beam Racing||Steven Johnson / Dirk Muller||Falcon FG||20||01:14:2562||31:17:3493||24||0|
|DNF||Gulf Western Oil Racing||Warren Luff / Marino Franchitti||Commodore VE2||6||01:15:2456||18:43:4264||14||0|