Jamie Whincup has won his fourth V8 Supercars title overcoming a pit-lane penalty to finish third at Winton, as his TeamVodafone team-mate Craig Lowndes claimed victory.
Whincup started the race on pole but, was overtaken by Will Davison on turn 10, the only frontrunner starting on soft tyres, and sat second as the Tradingpost FPR Falcon sprinted away to a 10s lead over the first 15 laps.
Davison’s strategy was compromised though when the safety car was deployed on lap 15 after James Moffat’s Team Norton DJR Falcon suffered a power failure. With his lead eroded, Davison then tangled with Tekno Autosport’s Michael Patrizi at the restart and Whincup took the race lead.
Whincup led for seven laps but was then handed a pit lane penalty for having his wheels spinning before the car touched the ground during his pit stop and he dropped down to 22nd.
But he then launched a stunning fight-back, scything through the order to finish third behind race winner Lowndes and title rival Mark Winterbottom. With a 317 point lead in the championship, and a maximum of 300 points on offer at the season finale, Whincup wrapped up the drivers Championship, adding to his 2008, 2009 and 2011 titles. Whincup was keen to point out though that the possibility of points-penalties during next month’s Sydney Telstra 500 ensures the title is not yet officially won.
“Mathematically everything is looking pretty good but with the potential to lose points in Sydney I’m going to keep going hard right up until the last lap of the last race.” said Whincup.
Lowndes picked up his sixth victory of the season having overtaken Winterbottom on lap 44 shortly after the second round of stops, assuming the official lead six laps later when Team BOC’s Jason Bright pitted for the second time.
Shane van Gisbergen (SP Tools Racing) held off Stone Brothers Racing teammate Tim Slade (Lucky 7 Racing) for fourth after the pair battled for position throughout the race. Bright made a late charge over the final 16 laps, climbing eleven places to finish 6th ahead of Jonathon Webb (Tekno Autosports), David Reynolds (The Bottle-O Racing Team) and Russell Ingall (Supercheap Auto Racing). While race one podium finisher Lee Holdsworth (IRWIN Racing) recovered from an opening lap incident to round out the top-ten.
Greg Murphy (Pepsi Max Crew) was listed as the race’s only retirement after running out of fuel on the final lap while running 22nd.
The season concludes with the Sydney Telstra 500 on 1 and 2 December.