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Nov 18, 2012 - 06:34 AM
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V8 Supercar Champion Elect Whincup Builds His Own Era
Posted by: newsla on Nov 18, 2012 - 06:32 AM
Sports Cars
V8 Supercar Champion Elect Whincup Builds His Own Era

Jamie Whincup is a fan of dominant sporting eras. After effectively sealing the 2012 V8 Supercar Championship at Winton this weekend he can lay claim to an era of his own.


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As much as he considers himself a Champion in waiting with the blockbuster Sydney Telstra 500 in 10 days still to come, Whincup would need a horrible disaster to lose his 317 point lead, given if even he fails to finish both races only a further points penalty could prevent it.

It was a race won today by Whincup's TeamVodafone partner Craig Lowndes, but that was a little lost in the bigger Championship picture. Incredibly Lowndes' win meant the Holden pair had won 17 of the last 18 races between them.

Whincup drove what would seem like the best of his career to recover from a pit lane penalty that put him in 22nd to third in not that many more laps. In the space of an hour the door was wide open for a last event Championship challenge by Mark Winterbottom to the door being closed once again.

Ultimately it will give Whincup four Championships in five years. In V8 Supercar terms his dominant may over time be related to those of five-time Champion Mark Skaife, successive four time winner Ian Geoghegan back in 1969 and Marcos Ambrose in the 2000s.

"Some of the best sporting moments I've seen are Michael Schumacher in his peak, Roger Federer just cleaning up, Sebastian Loeb - I really appreciate the guys who step up. There doesn't need to be different winners each year to make the sporting spectacle what it is," Whincup said.

Whincup said he was in awe of Sebastian Vettel come from starting in pit lane in the event V8 Supercars shared with Formula One in Abu Dhabi a fortnight ago, coming in for unplanned repairs and still finishing third - a feat he virtually emulated today.

"To see a guy like Sebastian Vettel absolutely at his peak, dominate and come through like that is great to see. I sit back and enjoy things like that; it's phenomenal to watch."

When pressed the intensely focussed Whincup was reluctant to let his guard down and celebrate the moment.

"What do you want me to do - jump on the table or something? There's no opportunity to celebrate anything, it's that busy, so why not let it bottle up until the end of the year and let go then.

"I don't really want the year to finish. We are going to go to Sydney, enjoy ourselves and try to finish off the year the way we know we can. I don't think we have been on the top of the podium in Sydney so that's a goal for sure."

Resigned to finally being out of the running, Winterbottom was disappointed and reflective.

"We had a go today. There was a bit of an issue on the car but regardless of that when a guy gets a drive-through a drives back through to third what can you do? You go home, work harder and make sure they don't get 1-2 (in the Championship)," he said.

"Each year we are consistent but not good enough for 12 months of the year. This year the car has been good here and there and we have been sharing wins with Will (Davison). It's a good year but not good enough.

"You fall one race short. What can you do? It's disappointing but there are 26 blokes behind me who are more disappointed."

At one stage today a simple error looked like being Whincup's race two demise. His TeamVodafone are the masters of minimising mistakes and have barely put a foot wrong all year, then Whincup was penalised for his mid-race mistake.

From the lead of the race and having the Championship Whincup had to concede at pit lane drive-through for allowing the wheels to spin whilst on the 'jacks' during a pit stop. The rule is intended to stop drivers from spinning their wheels as they are dropped back onto the ground to gain an advantage.

The penalty cost him dearly at the time but that was before his miraculous drive.

"The fuel rig came off the car and generally it drops straight after. I dropped the clutch and the wheels spun once or twice before I touched the ground. I knew I had done it. I thought hopefully no-one was looking. It was a mistake but I won't slit my wrists over it" said Whincup.

Team boss Roland Dane was not happy: "You do the crime you serve the time I'm afraid, that's patently obvious. I saw it in the pit stop there and thought it would come back to bite us.

In an interesting addition to the Whincup dramas the FPR team then pulled the team orders card telling Will Davison to let Winterbottom pass for maximum points. Davison followed orders, surely a little reluctantly, by letting his team-mate through. It was still not enough.

Stone Brothers Racing teammates Shane van Gisbergen and Tim Slade battled somewhat controversially for position throughout the race, eventually finishing 4th and 5th respectively.

Jason Bright made a late charge into 6th, displacing Tekno Autosport's Jonathon Webb.

David Reynolds, Russell Ingall finished 8th and 9th while yesterday's podium finisher Lee Holdsworth recovered from an opening lap incident to finish in tenth place.

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