Dumbrell third Dunlop Series dual champ in history
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
By V8 Supercars
Paul Dumbrell has become the third Dunlop Series dual champion after his dominant assault on the 2014 season saw him clinch his second series title.
The 32-year old secured the points for the title at the penultimate round at Bathurst and was officially crowned champion of the 2014 series on Sunday at the Sydney NRMA 500.
The win sees him join accomplished drivers Dean Canto and Steve Owen as the third person to secure more than one Dunlop Series title.
Dumbrell's first series win came 12 years ago steering anIndependent Race Cars entry,before he signed with Castrol Perkins Motorsport for the 2003 V8 Supercars Championship.
He retiried from full-time racing in the main game at the end of 2011, and returned to the Dunlop Series this year.
"From my first one, the difference is [I'm] about five kilos heavier and about half a head of hair, it's a few years ago now," he joked.
Dumbrell, who contested the series this year with Eggleston Motorsport, did not end the his championship-crowning-weekend as he would've hoped, crashing out in the Grand Finale race, assisted by Andre Heimgartner.
But his title win has come under fire from competitors who question his eligibility in a series known for breeding and fostering young V8 Supercar talent.
"We certainly copped a bit of criticism throughout the year for, I guess, anyone with a reasonable amount of experience in V8s to go back to the Dunlop Series," he said.
"I look at it a different way. If the rules in the main series weren't the way that they are in terms of the two main drivers not able to pair together, a lot of the more experienced guys wouldn't be in the Dunlop Series."
At the end of his full-time V8 Supercars Championship career, Dumbrell was recruited by Triple Eight to pair up with six-time Champion and long-time friend Jamie Whincup for the endurance races.
Together they won the coveted Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in 2012 and Dumbrell has this year usedthe Dunlop Series to maintain race fitness in preparation for the Pirtek Enduro Cup. He's just one co-driver who uses that opportunity, with other accomplished main game co-drivers such as Steven Johnson, Dean Fiore and Owen competing a handful of Dunlop Series races this year.
"It's certainly what we got into the series to do, to get a lot of miles to try and win the series and be up to speed for the endurance races, which I think we did successfully," Dumbrell said.
"We are there to win, we are there to put ourselves in the best position to be quick enough and to be consistent enough to help Jamie win a couple of those races and form part of his championship."
Contrary tothe criticism, there are many whohave come to 'PD's' defence, including seven-time Dunlop Series race winner and regular Jack Perkins.
"I think this year the guys, especially the young guys... to be racing against Paul Dumbrell in a Triple Eight car gave them a tremendous yard-stick to see where their performance was at," Perkins said of the benefits the developing drivers reap from having Dumbrell in the series.
"He's a proven main game driver and Jamie Whincup's co-driver, so for those guys to have him in the Dunlop Series - I mean, if anyone of those young blokes didn't see that as a positive, it's silly because it's a tremendous yard stick for them to see how they go against him in race pace and qualifying."
Despite his dominant form, the Holden pilot didn't discount his series rivals that have made things a little harder for Dumbrell as he pursued his second title.
"I think its been really good, the competition there at the moment is really high," he said.
"And that really shows with the amount of podium winners that we've had this year and there certainly has been some really good battles.
"It's been big and another successful year for the Dunlop Series and no doubt 2015 will be another great year."
The 2015 Dunlop Series kicks off at the season opener on the streets of Adelaide at the Clipsal 500, February 26 - March 1.