Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowdnes have proved too quick for the rest of the field winning Saturday’s race at the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 Supercars round. The pairing finished ahead of team mates Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander making it a 1-2 finish for the Red Bull Holden Racing Team
Whincup has extended his record number of GC600 race wins to nine with a faultless double stint to the flag after taking the wheel from Lowndes at the end of Lap 34.
“Obviously couldn’t be happier with today’s result,” commented Whincup. “Lowdnesy (Craig Lowndes) did an amazing job off the start line, launched extremely well and got us the lead for the race.
“Alex (Premat) was hanging in there being quite aggressive on the kerbs, but once he was told to back it off, we were able to get a decent lead of about five to six seconds before I was able to jump into the car.
“The car was well and truly good enough but there has been so much emphasis on the chicanes here so for tomorrow we still need to improve in that area. We also certainly need to try if possible to improve our fuel economy as well since we got done by in the last pit stop by quite a few seconds.
“Thankfully though, we had a lead and Scott (McLaughlin) made a small mistake but all-in-all I was working hard to get Lowndesy a win this year. A little disappointed it wasn’t a Bathurst win but to give him a win on the Gold Coast is fantastic.
“The team worked incredibly hard and were on the mark, so that’s a tremendous effort by everyone in the garage, but like always we are a little bit greedy and our focus is to do it all again tomorrow.”
Scott McLaughlin and Alex Premat finished third. Starting from pole, Premat ran a solid opening stint before handing the car to McLaughlin in second place on lap 34. It was then up to McLaughlin to try to chase down the Triple Eight Holdens, however it wasn’t to be with third the best the team could manage today.
McLaughlin kept the Cameron Waters/Michael Caruso Mustang behind to make the podium and firm up his chances of sealing the championship on Sunday.
“We just didn’t quite have the pace today, third was about all it had in it I think,” commented McLaughlin. “We’ve got a little bit to work on tonight, we know we’ve got a fast qualifying car so we should be able to start at the front and hopefully if we can have a good race car and it can be a bit better on the tyres we should be right.”
Scott Pye was an excellent fifth alongside co-driver Warren Luff ahead of Lee Holdsworth/Thomas Randle, Will Davison/Alex Davison, Tim Slade/Ash Walsh, Fabian Coulthard/Tony D’Alberto and Rick Kelly/Dale Wood.
Andre Heimgartner and James Courtney collided late while jostling for eighth, with heavy contact against the concrete forcing the Kiwi out of the race with Courtney relegated to 12th after copping a drive-through –penalty.
Sunday’s action will begin with 9:55am qualifying before another Top 10 Shootout and 300km race.