Jamie Whincup's championship defence is back on track with the perfect weekend extending his lead in the V8 Supercar Championship Series after the Island 300 at Phillip Island.
With perfect execution TeamVodafone's Whincup won back-to-back races to gain back lost ground over Toll Holden Racing Team's Will Davison and Garth Tander. Whincup swept the victories while Davison had dramas in the second race, finishing eleventh.
“I'm aware of the Championship points and it's just a roller coaster ride this time of year,” Whincup said of his now 122 point lead. “We've got another event to go in two weeks followed by the massive event in Sydney. It's a big finish to the year.”
His main rival Davison is not giving up the chase despite the disappointing end result.
“The last two events have proved that anything can happen…we're heading to Perth next and it's a good track for the HRT Commodores,” Davison said. “We're back on the soft tyre, I like the soft tyre, and we've gone well with that this year while Jamie's struggled with it. He's also struggled at Perth in the past so it's not over yet. I'll probably drive more aggressively there. Unless we win some races we won't win the title, so I've got absolutely nothing to lose.”
In an eventful race, Whincup endured trying times and an issue with the official safety car, which had stopped as he as the leader came out of pit lane. The rules state you are not allowed to pass the safety car so Whincup stopped alongside.
The drama was exacerbated by the fact that while Whincup was coming out of pit lane others were still on the track racing for position only to confront cars stopped in front of them.
That aside, the field was restarted in order and Whincup left them in his wake from the outset despite strong pressure from the resurgent Ricky Kelly in his Jack Daniel's Commodore. Tander was third having fought his way through the pack from 13th.
Kelly couldn't find the pace to catch him but it was a great effort to follow his third from Saturday.
“I was trying my hardest to catch Jamie but had a few slides here and there. If that kept happening I knew the field would swallow me up pretty quickly so I had to stay in control.”
Tander still thinks he is a chance at a Championship despite being some 340 points behind heading to his home race, the BigPond 300 in Perth and then the Sydney Telstra 500 at Olympic Park in Sydney.
“Perth's a special place for me,” he said. “I want to go home to win and then Sydney, everybody wants to win that one.”