Jamie Whincup has insisted the Triple Eight teammates race hard and don’t move over – but he had to accept his teammate was faster in today’s race when Shane van Gisbergen passed him for the lead.
The clean, easy move was made at the hairpin, turn four, on lap 18 of 50.
Whincup took the high line, allowing van Gisbergen to pass up the inside. He ultimately flew home to take Holden’s 500th win and his first at Symmons Plains.
Whincup just could not keep the quick Kiwi behind him after stopping early to gain track position and bolting on his soft Dunlop tyres earlier than his competitors.
“We race, no doubt – there’s no team orders we’re not letting each other through or anything like that, we go out there and race home,” Whincup said.
“But there’s reality, and car 97 was certainly a quicker car today.”
After starting seventh, engineer David Cauchi called Whincup into the pit lane as soon as the window opened for compulsory stops.
The call gave Whincup track position, but the six-time champ was stuck on older tyres in the final stage of the race.
TEKNO stablemate Will Davison latched onto the back of the Red Bull Commodore, but Whincup was able to hold him out for second.
“We had a few different options and the one we chose was to pit early at the start of the race, which worked extremely well,” Whincup said.
“The problem with stopping so early was you use two or three more laps on my tyres than everyone else but track position is key.
“I was a bit of a sitting duck, Shane was much quicker than I was, so it was only a matter of time – no point holding him up.
“I just tried to get the slipstream and hang there as long as I could.
“‘Davo’ had some serious pace coming on at the end in the fourth triple eight car. Everyone at the crew is happy to lock out the podium.”