Malcolm Flynn | Jun 18, 2012

Jamie Whincup once again leads the 2012 V8 Supercars Championship, after achieving 1st and 2nd place results across the two races at Darwin's Hidden Valley on the weekend.

Whincup regained the championship lead by just two points after the Saturday race, beating previous leader Will Davison to the chequered flag by 5.88 seconds.

His eventual victory came despite a fumbled start dropping him from 3rd to 5th position before the first corner.

The reigning champion extended his points lead in the Sunday race, despite finishing second to teammate Craig Lowndes.

Lowndes’ Sunday race victory capped off a stellar week for the now-veteran, after being awarded an OAM in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

The victory was also Lowndes’ first for 2012, and his first Hidden Valley race win since 2007.

v8sc 2012 round 6 01 teamvodafone 02
These Team Vodafone victories put an end to rival Ford Performance Racing’s prior seven-race winning streak.

FPR’s Will Davison started the Saturday race from pole, but despite using the same hard-soft tyre strategy, he just couldn’t match the outright pace of Whincup’s Commodore.

Saturday’s race called for just one Safety Car session on lap 3 after Tony D’Alberto spun Michael Caruso, who in turn was collected head-on by David Russell, forcing the retirements of Caruso and Russell.

Russell is standing-in for regular Pepsi Max Commodore driver Greg Murphy, while he recovers from back surgery to rectify an injury incurred during Round 1 in Adelaide.

‘Third’ is the word for FPR driver Mark Winterbottom, describing both his Saturday and Sunday race results, and also the championship position he maintains from the previous two rounds.

These podium finishes did not come easy for Winterbottom, as he was battling a virus contracted from his 15-month old son.

Winterbottom put faith in his high level of physical fitness to help him battle the illness plus 50 degree cabin temperatures, and he was able to outpace teammate Davison early in Sunday’s race.

This led to Davison being held up behind Winterbottom during an early Safety Car-induced pitstop, eventually resulting in a championship-compromising 6th place result.

Lowndes attributed his Sunday victory largely to the tyre strategy implemented by his team.

The team sacrificed qualifying (though still managing 6th) and early race pace by reserving a fresh set of soft tyres for Lowndes’ final pitstop of the 200km race, giving the eventual victor an advantage for his final stint.

This strategy enabled Lowndes to overtake four cars in the final eight laps of the 69 lap race, before leading home a Team Vodafone one-two finish, with Winterbottom completing the podium some 16.3 seconds behind.

Whincup now leads the championship by 38 points, once again swapping provisional top honours with Davison, who now sits just 11 points ahead of Winterbottom’s still-3rd placing.

Lowndes’ Sunday victory reduces his 4th-place gap to 198 points, but this remains several clever tyre strategies away from toppling the top three contenders.

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

 

Championship Standings

1

Jamie Whincup

1494

2

Will Davison

1456

3

Mark Winterbottom

1445

4

Craig Lowndes

1247

5

Shane Van Gisbergen

1145

6

Lee Holdsworth

1079

7

Tim Slade

1059

8

Garth Tander

990

9

Fabian Coulthard

910

10

Jason Bright

804

11

Todd Kelly

783

12

David Reynolds

747

13

James Courtney

728

14

Michael Caruso

717

15

Rick Kelly

709

16

Steven Johnson

695

17

Jonathon Webb

670

18

Russell Ingall

632

19

Dean Fiore

600

20

Steve Owen

599

21

Michael Patrizi

586

22

Tony D’Alberto

527

23

Taz Douglas

453

24

Alexandre Premat

453

25

Karl Reindler

435

26

David Wall

361

27

James Moffat

344

28

Greg Murphy

315

29

David Russell

42

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