Jamie Whincup has sped to his 99th Supercars win on the streets of Townsville, taking his eighth victory in 16 races staged at the street circuit.
The Red Bull racer further cemented his championship lead with the win, sailing away from the pack and garnering a 10-second buffer before a late Safety Car with four laps to go, after Nick Percat’s Commodore was stranded on the circuit.
Whincup earned his first ARMOR ALL Pole Position of the year earlier today and converted to win his first race since the opener at the Clipsal 500 with a 3.2 second margin over teammate Shane van Gisbergen.
Lapped traffic played a part in the late restart, with defending champion Mark Winterbottom home third but unable to challenge the Bulls.
Whincup was pleased to take his first win since March.
“We’ve been working hard, the car was fantastic, I’m rapt with the results – plenty of frustration behind the scenes but don’t need to worry about that now,” he said.
“A 1-2 for Red Bull … I’m rapt to deliver.”
Van Gisbergen was the nearest challenger and had an entertaining battle with Chaz Mostert in the closing stages of the race, though the Supercheap Auto driver only managed fourth in the end.
“Chaz came through flying I thought I was in trouble,” van Gisbergen said.
The Kiwi jumps to second in the Championship points after today’s result.
It was a tougher day for Craig Lowndes who fell from second to fourth in the standings after finishing 12th, and a disaster for Scott McLaughlin who dropped from third to fifth and pulled into the garage on lap one with suspension damage to his Volvo. McLaughlin is now tied on points with Will Davison, who finished fifth in the 200km race.
There was drama on lap one, with contact between Rick Kelly and Tim Slade resulting in a drive through penalty for the Nissan driver. Percat steered into the mess, before triggering the late safety car after a steering failure.
One of the drives of the day came from Garth Tander who started 20th and finished seventh, one position behind teammate James Courtney who started third.
It was a tough debut for Kurt Kostecki, who hit the wall at turn 10 with around 10 laps to go.