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Whincup returns to winners circle
31 May 2009
Normal order was restored in the Falken Tasmania Challenge with V8 Supercar Champion Jamie Whincup returning to the winner's podium in race two.
Whincup and Championship second-placed Will Davison fought to the finish ahead of Wilson Security Racing's Fabian Coulthard who stood on his first V8 Supercar podium.
It was a strong recovery from TeamVodafone's Whincup who finished eighth the day before. He took advantage of the Sunday qualifying to get back to the front of the grid and then used the Dunlop Supermaxx Sprint tyre to his advantage.
“A much better day. Yesterday was tough,” Whincup said. “We knew we had good speed but we just couldn't get it together. We re-grouped overnight, was great this morning in qualifying and then the race was just a massive battle.
“The soft tyre really spiced things up. That was all pretty crazy. Will was pushing me hard, he was super quick. We kept it solid; we've just got to find a little more for the next event.”
Toll HRT's Davison made up ground on his former house-mate in the Championship race after the Saturday race to remain in the hunt after four of the 14 events.
“I don't want to play the points game but you've got to be sensible as well. We haven't qualified so well in the last couple of rounds but we've been able to fight back with a strong car,” he said. “Once we get into race trim the car is very fast. I'm seriously impressed with it. It's easy to blow it so I just kept my cool.”
Coulthard was the rising star of the race with a perfectly placed strategy that at one stage looked like to might even help him catch Whincup and Davison.
“We played and looked at what everyone else was doing and then decided what we would do for the rest of the race,” Coulthard said. “We started on soft tyres to make the most of it but I had a bit of trouble at the hairpin and dropped a couple of spots.
“There's an advantage on the soft tyres under brakes. You've got to be strong but you've also got to be there to put the pressure on.
“It means a lot to the team. It's something they've been longing for in the three years of being in V8 Supercars. It puts more confidence in ourselves and now we are putting more faith in each other.”
Garth Tander, winner yesterday, suffered badly with a damaged tyre which threw his entire race strategy out the window. He went from the front of the grid yesterday and race victory to being two laps down after just 18 gone. He battled home for 13th.
Champion Whincup was quick to bounce back from what he would have considered a disappointing eighth place in the first race by taking Armor All Pole Position today.
“Yesterday we had a really quick car but Garth did a great job - we never really got a good opportunity,” Whincup said.
The race became manic after 62 laps when rookie Dale Wood tangled with Jim Beam Racing James Courtney who, for the second time this weekend, had his race ended by horrible luck.
Courtney and Wood touched forcing the former spinning sideways on the final corner, through the dirt and slamming into the concrete barrier along the main straight. Courtney wasn't happy.
“I don't know what he was thinking,” Courtney said “He saw I was there, I don't know what he was trying to achieve, I do know he needs to take a good hard look at himself.”
The Series now moves to the SKYCITY Triple Crown at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway from June 19-21.
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