22 March 2009
Whincup takes Clipsal double
Jamie Whincup continued his perfect start to his title defence with another faultless display on the streets of Adelaide to secure his second race win of the weekend in the Clipsal 500.
Whincup repeated his Saturday feat but the Team Vodafone driver found himself under renewed pressure from not one but two Toll Holden Racing Team cars in the blistering pace of the 78 laps.
Whincup made up for a duff start on Saturday - letting team-mate Craig Lowndes take the duff start honours instead - but come the end of the first lap it wasn't Whincup in the lead, but HRT's Garth Tander.
Tander proved to be the feistier driver and capitalised on a minor moment from Whincup ahead on the first lap, and pushed his way ahead. No sooner was the red car in the lead, however, than V8 Supercar's new Nissan GTR safety car was called into action after Jack Perkins' Dodo Racing Commodore took to the wall, and fared worst.
In temperatures significantly cooler than the heat of Saturday, once the safety car re-entered the pits the pace was soon scintillating, and the margin for error very small as a very loud train of now 29 cars snaked their way through the park in Adelaide which sets the scene for what is arguably Australia's biggest sporting event.
Mark Winterbottom's FPR was the next to suffer, with what looked like a suspect tyre issue leading to him flying off the track and on to the grass. He missed the wall, and returned to the pits, but it was not to be the start he would want to his championship as further problems through the race meant a 22nd finishing position come race end, to add to his 18th of Saturday.
Up front Tander and Whincup traded fastest laps as Will Davison in the second HRT car passed first Fabian Coulthard in the Wilson Security racing Falcon, and then Jason Richards in the Team BOC Commodore to stake his claim as one to watch in the race.
By the time the lap tally entered double figures, the lead duo were 2.5 seconds to the good from third placed Paul Dumbrell in the Autobahn Racing Commodore, and Whincup was coming into his stride to wrestle the lead back.
Tander's card was marked, and sure enough on lap 14 the silver and red Falcon was past and into the lead, assisted by the slightest amount of braking long into the corner from Tander. Once past, Whincup made good of the clear air ahead, and by 6 laps later, he had a two second advantage.
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