Whincup starts V8s season with a win

A tyre puncture has given Jamie Whincup the ride of his life and ended his hopes of clean sweeping the Clipsal 500.

The six-time V8 Supercars champion won Saturday’s first race with a minimum of fuss and looked to be sailing to a second victory in as many races.

But a lengthy safety car delay from Michael Caruso’s crash caught the Red Bull Racing driver, who suffered a puncture on his way to 21st place.

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Unaware of the busted tyre, Whincup chose to drive on and nearly paid the price.

“I thought I’d give it another go, but the boss ain’t too happy about risking his $500,000 race car,” he said.

“It was a massive ride down into turn eight, I was sure I was going to eat the fence.

“Somehow we got round and the car is still straight … the car was quick today which was the main thing, it’s a good platform for tomorrow.”

Team boss Roland Dane took a pop at officials who “should have known better” and swept the crash site more thoroughly.

Instead, Fabian Coulthard took the race two win ahead of James Courtney and Craig Lowndes.

Coulthard’s first win at Clipsal gave him an early championship lead, which he said was a good feeling.

“It’s been a long time since I can say I’ve won a race,” he said.

“It was unlucky for Jamie, obviously he was pretty quick, it would have taken a fair bit to get past.

“Racing’s all about being there to pick up the pieces.”

The late drama was in contrast with a straight-forward race one, which Whincup led from start to finish to defeat Chaz Mostert and Coulthard.

Mostert overtook Coulthard from pit-lane and fell short from a final-lap assault on Whincup after a safety car restart.

The Ford tyro would finish his second race after just three laps, crashing out on the same turn that caught Caruso.

Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin had the dirtiest day, qualifying on the front two rows but having his race ruined twice.

In the warm-up lap to race one, McLaughlin was forced to run from his car after a faulty oil pump leaked under his car and caught fire.

Forced to watch Whincup’s victory from the sidelines, the Kiwi speedster showed his over-enthusiasm in race two by jump-starting.

The Kiwi copped a 10-second pit-lane penalty to drop down to ninth before recovering to finish third.

However, McLaughlin was demoted back to ninth with a post-race 10-second penalty applied for not taking his pit-stop penalty correctly.

Team boss Garry Rogers described the second fine as “petty bullshit” while McLaughlin vowed to recover stronger for the 250km race on Sunday.


1. Jamie Whincup (Holden)

2. Chaz Mostert (Ford)

3. Fabian Coulthard (Holden)

4. Craig Lowndes (Holden)

5. Mark Winterbottom (Ford)


1. Fabian Coulthard (Holden)

2. James Courtney (Holden)

3. Craig Lowndes (Holden)

4. Garth Tander (Holden)

5. Jason Bright (Holden)


1. Fabian Coulthard (Holden) – 139 points

2. Craig Lowndes (Holden) – 124

3. Garth Tander (Holden) – 108

4. James Courtney (Holden) – 108

5. Jamie Whincup (Holden) – 96


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