Jamie Whincup knows how tough a championship fightback would be from here, but promises he will continue to race his teammate Shane van Gisbergen down to the wire.
The gap has widened to 191 points after the quick Kiwi nabbed the most points across the ITM Auckland SuperSprint, earning him the coveted Jason Richards Memorial Trophy.
A gutsy dive to try and pass van Gisbergen was ultimately costly, with the #97 racer able to drive back up to third, while Whincup suffered from a drive-through penalty.
But it’s not the first time it has been down to Sydney for Whincup, and he knows things can change in a second with 300 points still to be earned.
“I’d never give up, it’s not over until the fat lady sings, so I just keep my head down until the last race,” Whincup said.
When asked if he had blown it yesterday, he gave a quick: “No”.
“There’s still 300 points up for grabs,” he added.
“Absolutely it’s going to be hard work, but I’m not scared of a bit of a hard work.”
He reiterated that despite fighting for the title there would be no internal change at the December 2-4 Coates Hire Sydney SuperSprint, working side by side as always to perfect the Red Bull Racing Australia Holden Commodores.
“We’re a team, there’s 50 plus people at Red Bull racing and there’s probably 44 of those don’t care which car wins, as long as it’s got the Red Bull sticker down the side.
“So we’ll keep working together right to the end and hope everyone enjoys the battle until the last lap.”
The contact between teammates was the major news of the day yesterday, after fighting hard but fair up the front this season.
Whincup admitted error immediately, and explained the incident further post-race.
“There was no door open [to pass] – my car was pretty quick I went for a lunge down the inside, locked the rears, made a mistake and took out my teammate.
“There was no malice or anything like that, just a matter of, had to get through in the next couple laps, otherwise the car would’ve overheated and it all would’ve been over.
“So, thought the move was on but locked the rears so not much more to talk about.
“I apologised and thankfully car 97 kept going and got a good result and some points.”