Champion elect takes first Sydney victory

  • 06/12/2014
  • By V8 Supercars
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Jamie Whincup has not slowed down with the Championship trophy in sight, taking the first win of the weekend at the Sydney NRMA 500.

The Red Bull racer started from the front row for the day's first race, and while he was jumped by Supercheap Auto Racing's Tim Slade as the compulsory pit stops played out, a lunge on lap 26 of 37 saw the points leader sail away to an eventual 3.1sec lead.

"Good times - there's plenty of pride on the line we want to round the year off in the best possible way," Whincup said.

"Great battle with Timmy Slade, he got us in the pits, a bit of confusion with the safety car and I was probably a bit over-cautious... Got leap frogged, had a great battle, that's what it's all about."

Second-placed Slade recorded his best result of the year, holding off David Reynolds in the Bottle-O Falcon, who also finished on the podium.

"The car's been really speedy all weekend," Slade said.

"I thought we were on there after the pit stop... but I don't know what Jamie was on, once he got by he was straight away."

Completing the top 10 were Scott McLaughlin, Rick Kelly, Shane van Gisbergen, David Wall, Fabian Coulthard, Jason Bright - who will start from pole for the day's second race - and Garth Tander.

Meanwhile the battle for second in the Championship is heating up, with all three contenders suffering setbacks.

Craig Lowndes had a huge crash in qualifying, his Commodore in doubt for the race. But the Red Bull crew pulled together and got the car out there - he came home 13th.

The red flag Lowndes caused, ending qualifying, meant Shane van Gisbergen was stuck starting 19th - but he climbed up through the field to finish sixth.

Mark Winterbottom collided with the tyres early in the race, bringing out a Safety Car and struggling through to finish in 23rd. He leads Lowndes by 80, though Lowndes and van Gisbergen are now separated by 21 points.

Man of the moment Marcos Ambrose finished 20th, while his DJR stablemate Scott Pye ran into trouble, as did pole-sitter Will Davison, who suffered from a power steering issue.

Click here for full results.

The day's second 125km race begins at 4.50pm with rainclouds looming at Homebush in Sydney.

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