Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell have clinched victory by just 0.3 seconds in the 50th running of the Bathurst 1000.
The win marks the tenth straight victory for Team Vodafone, despite being threatened by diminishing fuel supply and intense pressure from rising star David Reynolds during the closing laps.
This valiant second place formed the first podium result in the category for both Reynolds and co-driver Dean Canto.
Whincup’s teammate Craig Lowndes crossed the line within nine seconds of Whincup, completing the podium with co-driver Warren Luff.
Courtney/McConville, Caruso/Ritter, Webb/McLaughlin, Slade/Thompson, Holdsworth/Baird, Ingall/Klien, and Moffatt/A. Davison rounded out the top ten results, with 19 of the 25 finishers remaining on the lead lap.
Tyre delamination was the most significant issue of the race, with all leading teams being plagued by premature tyre failures.
Control tyre supplier Dunlop has explained that the cars are placing far greater demands on the tyre’s construction than when the tyre was first developed 12 years ago - a fact highlighted by the demanding Mount Panorama circuit.
This persistent failure of left-rear tyres prompted stern criticism from several stakeholders, forcing constant recalculation of pit strategies and adding a further dimension to the race beyond the eventual six Safety Car periods.
The pole-starting Falcon of Will Davison/John McIntyre Falcon suffered misfortune throughout the race, including a controversial drive-through penalty after McIntyre left the car in gear during a pitstop, leaving the rear wheels spinning whilst suspended.
Any hope of victory was dashed when Davison overshot The Chase on 131, with brake failure tipped to be a result of earlier minor contact with Luke Youlden at The Cutting.
Davison’s car was forced to make an extended pitstop to rectify the issue, before re-emerging 18 laps down on the leaders and eventually placing 24th.
The fellow Ford Performance Racing Falcon of Winterbottom and co-driver Steve Richards also suffered from the tyre issues, eventually placing 11th.
Just four of the 29 starters failed to finish the race, with the Commodore of Michael Patrizi suffering driveline failure at the hands of co-driver Jonny Reid on lap 20, and the race’s most significant impact was when Steve Owen hit the wall heavily at Griffin’s Bend on Lap 54 soon after pitting.
The Commodore of Taz Douglas/Scott Pye called it a day after 97 laps following numerous pitstops with engine problems, and the final retirement was the Tony D’Alberto/Dale Wood Falcon after 122 laps with steering issues.
Kudos are due for the Commodore of Cameron Waters/Jesse Dixon, with the youngest driver pairing in the race’s history finishing the race in 20th position, albeit three laps down on the winners.
Whincup’s win has extended his championship lead to 161 points, with teammate Lowndes climbing to second in the rankings.
Winterbottom now sits third, with Davison’s 24th result extending his fourth place points gap to 282 points.
The 2012 V8 Supercar Championship will continue with the Gold Coast 600 race in two weeks.
Top Ten V8 Supercar Championship Series Race 21 results - Bathurst 1000
Top Ten V8 Supercar Championship Points Standings
1 Jamie Whincup 2772
2 Craig Lowndes 2611
3 Mark Winterbottom 2584
4 Will Davison 2302
5 Shane Van Gisbergen 2020
6 Tim Slade 1854
7 Garth Tander 1824
8 David Reynolds 1680
9 Lee Holdsworth 1629
10 Fabian Coulthard 1613