V8 » 21 March 2009
Whincup wins opening Clipsal race
“It was an absolute thrill to be on the podium today” he said. “It has been a big first weekend with the Toll Holden Racing Team, I have been counting down the days.
“We had very good speed in qualifying except I mucked up the shootout and threw away a potential pole position. It's an incredible car and it really opened my eyes to how good it was. I bluffed the start and had a pretty tough race from there on but I kept calm and kept patient and had a car that was very quick.
“It was very enjoyable being able to pass so many cars like that. I am pretty knackered, I am not really sure what happened at the end there, Garth had a bit of rubbish coming out of the back of his car, a bit of smoke and possibly a bit of oil. Now I just hope to get through 78 laps again tomorrow because it was pretty tough today. I learnt so much over that race, new car and new team and I will be happy to do a similar thing tomorrow.”
Davison's former team and team-mate Steven Johnson crossed the line in fourth, keeping out of trouble and focused in the difficult conditions of the 78 lap race, behind him finished Stone Brother's Shane van Gisbergen, who drove a feisty race at time, dicing with Dumbrell in the early stages.
Sixth went to Brad Jones Racing's Team BOC Jason Richards. The team from Albury managed both cars in the top ten with Cameron McConville driving his WOW liveried entry from the back of the grid – after crashing in Saturday's qualifying session – to ninth position, picking up a star performer award in the process.
Todd Kelly took seventh, with brother Rick finishing in tenth, on the first race for their new sans Walkinshaw Holden team, with the distinctive Larry Perkins exhaust system.
“I'm drained, but I'm still pretty stoked that both of our cars finished in the top ten and it was also a great job by Dale [Wood] to finish 14th after yesterday,” Rick Kelly. “Jack had some good pace as well and was quite strong as well.
“Our car's handling extremely well and it was capable of staying in front of those cars that we managed to get in front of before the cool suit problem started to hurt us.
To be honest the whole team has done a great job just to get here and finish in the top ten with two new Jack Daniel's Commodores. That's about the best we could have hoped for but both Todd and I have to start back in the field again with the new qualifying rules for this year.
Russell Ingall finished eighth in the Supercheap Auto Racing Paul Morris Commodore.
Notable hardships were suffered by Lowndes, losing second in the last few laps due to power steering woes, and Tander who dropped out of the race with an increasingly smokey car, with just over ten laps to go.
“Something felt weird in the steering straight after the pit stop, but then it felt fine for 30 laps,” the HRT man said. “The first sign of something major was when I saw smoke in the mirrors. Then the steering started to come and go as the oil drained out and that was that. It's not a good way to start the year, but the new qualifying rules will work for us this weekend – you have to play to your advantages don't you? So we'll gladly start third again and try get a result.”
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