Sydney 500 countdown: #9 Whincup lets Lowndes through
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
By Kassie Gadeke
Jamie Whincup had secured the 2012 Championship at the previous Winton round, but teammate Craig Lowndes was locked in battle with Mark Winterbottom for second position at the final event of the ‘Project Blueprint’ era and Ford versus Holden.
All three started outside the top 10 on Saturday, but it wasn’t long before they were back in contention in the searing Sydney heat.
Shane van Gisbergen memorably hit the medical car while grappling with steering damage, and under safety car, Whincup sensationally pulled over in the pit lane to allow Lowndes through so the #888 driver didn’t need to double stack.
Whincup took the hit and rejoined further back with Winterbottom, who he held at bay in a tough battle, while Lowndes sailed ahead.
Coming into the event Whincup had said 1-2 was the priority and showed just how loyal he was to his word and team with the move that helped Lowndes become the first ever double race winner at Sydney Olympic Park that day.
He took the victory over Tim Slade and James Courtney, with Whincup fifth in the order behind TEKNO’s Jonathon Webb.
"Jamie basically gave me the win in the sense that for the last pit stop, he moved over and let me through," Lowndes said post-race.
"Otherwise we would've been queuing and we would've been back in the pack.
"It was the scenario we talked about as we were very mindful of trying to get the one-two in the championship."
The race result was enough for Lowndes to secure second in the points over Winterbottom, and earn Triple Eight 1-2 in the drivers’ championship as well as the teams’ championship.
Lowndes finished second to Will Davison on Sunday, with Whincup fifth.