Whincup takes early honours
- By Kassie Gadeke
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Six-time Supercars champ Jamie Whincup has trumped teammate Shane van Gisbergen at the Kiwi’s home track, taking the first victory at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint.
Both Red Bulls started side by side on the front row for the 100km sprint, but it was Whincup who got the critical jump in an action packed start that saw Scott McLaughlin and Mark Winterbottom wrestle over third, repeating their battle at the Gold Coast.
The red flag came out three laps in with Jason Bright tapped into the wall at pit lane entry – a hard hit for the Team BOC Commodore after contact with Chris Pither. The team is assessing that car to see if it can repair it for tomorrow. Pither served a drive through penalty for his part in the crash but was unsure of the story before seeing the footage.
The race restarted shortly after the Commodore was rescued, with Whincup flying up front until the chequered flag with a 6.5 second lead.
“I got off the line well, obviously the red flag – I know least about that of anyone, I hope Brighty’s alright,” Whincup said after emerging from the car.
“The car was quick … we’ll try and move it forward as the races go on.”
Finishing second means van Gisbergen’s championship lead dips from 148 to 142.
“A pretty good race, Jamie had some speed – I had nothing for him,” the Kiwi said.
“Second is alright we’ll try and tune her up for this afternoon.”
Elbows were out at the back of the field, with James Moffat, Dale Wood and Todd Kelly involved in incidents. Wood’s car retired and is being repaired by the Nissan team. The ADVAM driver was not pleased to have clashed with his boss on track, but Kelly was measured in his response, saying they 'may have a chat' after he watched the vision.
The cars line-up for another 100km sprint today at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint.