1 January 1901
FPR takes 1-2 in Darwin opener.
Both Vodafone drivers lost a position off the start and endured slower than normal pit-stops, hampering their races. After working their way onto Tander's tail, they found little opportunity to overtake, and were restricted to fourth and fifth in a race which turned into a procession to the chequered flag.
“I actually got off to quite a good start and had a dual with Garth into turn one, but he got the better of me this time,” Whincup reported, “We were relying on a good pit-stop to try and leapfrog the slower cars in front, but a stuck wheel nut had the opposite effect. Craig had used his tyres up trying to pass Garth so he tagged me in, but I hit the same barriers he did."
Richards, meanwhile, posted his team's best qualifying and race results of the season, starting and finishing sixth having stayed on the tail of the two Triple Eight cars for the entire race and run as high as fifth, after passing Lowndes on the first corner of the first lap.
“That was excellent,” he enthused, “We've still got room for improvement, but to hang on to HRT and Triple Eight was good. The car felt great all day, we were able to hold on to the Tander/Lowndes pack and occasionally challenge. We've made a giant step forward since the test day, and that showed out there today. I am rapt!"
“I got past Lowndes at the start, which was really satisfying, but a slow pit-stop prevented us getting in front of the Tander pack. To go from 27th yesterday to sixth today shows how much we've improved the car's set-up. [Practice] was frustrating for sure, but we didn't panic. We made small changes; we didn't empty the truck and start again. Every change made was methodical and logical. The result was a much better race car. The objective now is to stay in the top ten and keep knocking them over.”
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