Whincup draws Feeney parallels with Ambrose

04 Jan 2023
Feeney ended rookie season sixth with Adelaide win
3 mins by James Pavey

Two podiums and a win paled to Shane van Gisbergen's 21 wins and six further podiums.

Jamie Whincup saw some Marcos Ambrose in Broc Feeney’s rookie campaign as the teen readies for his sophomore season.

Feeney finished his first season as Whincup’s successor in sixth, having won the Adelaide 500.

The Queenslander was 19 years old until after Bathurst, and also scored podiums in Tasmania and Sandown.

Victory in the Adelaide finale was Feeney’s crowning moment as he replicated Whincup’s 2006 win.

Feeney’s campaign reminded Whincup of Ambrose’s first season in Supercars, when the Tasmanian impressed on debut.

A young Ambrose — then already an Australian and British Formula Ford ace — joined Stone Brothers Racing in 2001.

Ambrose, aged 20, stunned Supercars when he qualified on pole on debut at the Australian Grand Prix support race.

Ambrose in 2001 Pic: AN1 Images

He then qualified on pole at Eastern Creek, Queensland Raceway and Bathurst.

There, at Mount Panorama, Ambrose became the first rookie to take pole position since 1987.

Ambrose went on to finish eighth in the championship — winning the Rookie of the Year award — and also won the Darwin round.

Both campaigns were mightily impressive, and Feeney’s efforts weren’t lost on his boss.

“He ended P6 in the championship… especially doing half the year at 19 years old,” said Whincup, who raced with Feeney to fifth in Bathurst.

“To run P6 in what I regard as the toughest touring car championship in the world… it’s really impressive.

"I can’t think of another rookie since probably Ambrose, and he was quite established when he joined Supercars.

“He’s done an exceptional job.”


'He’s done an exceptional job'

Feeney turned his eye to 2023 quickly after Adelaide when he jetted off to Austria for a Red Bull training camp.

After he returning to Australia, he has rolled out a go kart and is back on track.

Given Gen3 is a clean slate for all drivers and teams, Whincup is hoping Feeney can improve further as Triple Eight bids to hang onto both titles.

Two podiums and a win paled to Shane van Gisbergen's 21 wins and six further podiums.

However, Feeney was a model of consistency, with his luckless Gold Coast crash in the chicane pile-up his only DNF.

“Of course, we’re harsh on him,” Whincup said.

“We want him to get better. He positions himself a bit wide at times, which is what all rookies do.

'We want him to get better'

“He probably should've been hard in the fence three or four times this year, but it didn’t happen.

“The only incident, really, was getting caught up in someone else’s crash at the Gold Coast.

“Apart from that, he’s executed and done everything that’s asked of him.

“He knows what he does well, he knows where he needs to improve.

“We’re going to give him the tools to do the job and to keep improving.

“Hopefully he can win this guy [championship trophy] in a few years to come."

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will commence in Newcastle on March 10-12.

Tickets are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.

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