Malcolm Flynn | May 21, 2012

FPR's Will Davison once again leads the 2012 V8 Supercars Championship, despite crashing out of the Saturday race at Phillip Island on the weekend.

Davison recovered well to win the Sunday race, and together with teammate Mark Winterbottom’s Saturday victory, Ford Performance Racing’s winning streak now extends to seven races.

Winterbottom started the Saturday race on pole, but was beaten off the start by fellow FPR driver David Reynolds, who had earlier scored a career-best second in qualifying.

Reynolds then led the race for the first 11 laps, until a forced pit stop to correct a fuel nozzle issue pushed him back into the field.

After the scheduled pit stops, the Safety Car was called on Lap 25 due to wild geese that had wandered onto the circuit, repeating a similar situation in 2011.

This bunched up the field, leading to a high speed collision at Turn 4 between then-championship leaders Whincup and Davison, after contact between Davison and fellow Ford driver Tim Slade.

Davison blamed Slade for the incident, tweeting his displeasure online:

“Really unfortunate side of racing today - not a fun ride and I'm just glad Jamie Whincup is all ok. I did everything I could to miss him!”

2012 v8sc phillip island 07

Slade capitalised on the incident by finishing third behind Winterbottom and Stone Brothers’ Shane van Gisbergen, forming an all-Ford podium for the Saturday race.

Triple 8’s Craig Lowndes showed impressive pace during the Saturday race, breaking his own 13-year old lap record, but a strong result was prevented by racecraft issues.

The now-veteran driver received a stop-go penalty after colliding with Jason Bright, and his initial 13th placing was pushed back to 15th by Race Stewards after he was found to have overtaken under yellow flag conditions.

Lowndes’ pace without grace continued at the start of the Sunday race, squandering pole position with a start line stall forcing him back to 10th position.

This resulted in David Reynolds once again leading the race from the start, but he was soon overtaken by teammates Davison and Winterbottom.

A Safety Car period on Lap 4 prompted many to pit early, with the resulting pit lane rush-hour causing several issues.

Triple 8 boss Roland Dane lodged a protest against FPR, alleging that Winterbottom intentionally held up traffic as he approached the pits for the stop.

Dane suggested that Winterbottom did this to minimise the time compromise of queuing behind teammate Davidson who had reached the FPR pit garage first.

Winterbottom did drop five positions during this stop, which likely contributed to V8 Supercars’ decision to uphold the protest, with no penalties awarded.

Fabian Coulthard and Karl Reindler also made contact during the stop, as they jostled for position in the narrow pit area.

Brad Jones Racing driver Jason Bright benefitted from avoiding the melee and employing a one-stop pit strategy.

This helped him to lead the race between Lap 4 and his pitstop on Lap 25, and eventually claiming third place on the podium.

2012 v8sc phillip island 11

Lowndes charged through the field after his start-line blunder, eventually finishing second to Davison, with a margin of just over five-tenths of a second.

Whincup clearly struggled for pace in the latter part of the Sunday race, succumbing to both Lowndes and van Gisbergen in the dying laps to eventually finish fifth.

Davison’s Sunday win was his first solo victory at the Victorian circuit, and brings his 2012 race victory tally to four.

He now leads the championship by just 10 points, displacing previous top dog Whincup, who now sits just 19 points ahead of the Winterbottom’s current third placing.

Just 29 points separate the top three championship contenders, with current fourth-placed Lowndes a further 210 points adrift.

The 2012 V8 Supercars Championship will continue at Hidden Valley in three weeks.

 

Championship Standings

1

Will Davison

1216

2

Jamie Whincup

1206

3

Mark Winterbottom

1187

4

Craig Lowndes

977

5

Shane Van Gisbergen

953

6

Lee Holdsworth

932

7

Tim Slade

879

8

Garth Tander

816

9

Fabian Coulthard

766

10

Rick Kelly

673

11

Jason Bright

672

12

Todd Kelly

648

13

Michael Caruso

597

14

Russell Ingall

596

15

Steven Johnson

596

16

James Courtney

587

17

David Reynolds

546

18

Michael Patrizi

540

19

Jonathon Webb

526

20

Steve Owen

522

21

Dean Fiore

498

22

Tony D’Alberto

425

23

Taz Douglas

396

24

Karl Reindler

381

25

Alexandre Premat

369

26

David Wall

316

27

Greg Murphy

315

28

James Moffat

302

29

David Russell

42

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