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Dec 08, 2013 - 06:07 AM
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Whincup Joins The All-Time Greats With Fifth V8 Supercar Title
Posted by: newsla on Dec 08, 2013 - 06:06 AM
Sports Cars
Whincup Joins The All-Time Greats With Fifth V8 Supercar Title


Jamie Whincup is a near immortal of Australian motorsport. And he never stops fighting after laying it all on the line in the very last V8 Supercar race of the year, the Sydney NRMA Motoring & Services 500 at Olympic Park.

 

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Right to the last lap in the last race of the year all Whincup had to do was survive. A mistake, accident or car failure would have handed Red Bull team-mate Craig Lowndes the V8 Supercar title on a silver platter. But astoundingly Whincup never stopped racing.

He tangled with Jason Bright, second today, when he didn't need to. He brushed walls, broke mirrors and clipped kerbs, when all he needed to do was play conservative. A racer to the end.

"I was really, really enjoying it to be honest. I had the Championship in the back of my head but all these things are going through my mind during the last 20 laps what should I do," said Whincup.

"I just can't help but race. These boys were banging the walls at every second corner, it was really good to watch. I was more of a fan than anything else.

"I was up the inside of Brighty and I was like 'oh no' he hasn't seen me, so I went four wheels over the inside kerb to try and avoid it, obviously a little bit of risk factor but we are here to race.

"It is all about walking away at the end of the day and looking yourself in the mirror, have you been true to yourself, have you done the right thing by everyone and did it plan out the way you wanted it to. That was all part of it for me, to race hard. Sometimes it goes pear-shaped but it didn't today.

"That's my whole motivation, I just love driving my car. We do a lot of work behind the scenes to make the car better to make it more enjoyable to drive the car."

Whincup joined greats Mark Skaife, Dick Johnson and the late Ian 'Pete' Geoghegan with five Championship victories, putting him in illustrious company as the best of the best. Five titles in six years, a feat not matched and only broken by James Courtney in 2010.

And it's not likely to finish there.

"The number is massive. I must admit I was happy with my first Championship to be honest and we just kept plugging away here," Whincup said.

"It's incredible sitting here with five Championships. I am a huge fan of Skaife and what he did so to join him on that number of Championships is an honour.

"This is not a debate about the number of poles and wins - the fact we did more races - but the Championship numbers, it doesn't matter how many races it is still a big number."

As if often reported Whincup was once dumped for not being good enough.

"It's a great story getting a start in the category and then missing out on 2004. I don't want to dwell on the past but I got back in and I went and had a meeting at the end of 2005 and I said I'll pretty much drive for nothing just give me an opportunity," he said.

"I had some pretty high calibre people tell me don't join the team it's crap. Craig Lowndes makes all his team mates look really ordinary, he has had seven different team mates in seven different years you'll end up back on the scrap heap.

"But, I backed myself, got a really good bunch of guys around me to really help me out and we started to move forward and develop."

Whincup still laments the 'Courtney' year when he lost the title in Sydney.

"I had a big opportunity to go three in a row in 2010 and I threw it away here, and I never thought that would happen again but thankfully from me I was given another opportunity and to do the three in a row is very special."

The likely place where Whincup was to come undone was qualifying. A place anywhere in the mid pack would have posed a serious risk in the final race on the infamous Sydney Olympic Park circuit.

But the best qualifier in the business, with an all-time record 14 ARMOR ALL Pole Positions to his name, started on the second row of the grid with his rival Lowndes back in ninth. All Whincup had to do from there was survive.

Lowndes finished fifth on the day and second for the year, with Will Davison trumping teammate Winterbottom for third by just six points.

The win catapulted van Gisbergen into fifth in the Championship - which was his personal goal for the 2013 season.

Top 10 in the final V8 Supercars race for 2013 was van Gisbergen, Bright, Whincup, Reynolds, Lowndes, Winterbottom, Will and Alex Davison, Mostert and Russell Ingall cracking the top 10 in his final race as a full-time V8 Supercars driver.


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