Abu Dhabi: Series leader Jamie Whincup of Team Vodafone twice came from second on the grid to win races 24 and 25 in stage 13 of 15 in the V8 Supercars Championship at Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday.
He twice made early passes on the pole sitter of both races — Will Davison of Trading Post Ford — to record his 10th win of the season and the 62nd victory of his career, putting him odds-on to secure back-to-back championships. His Triple Eight chassis also became the most successful individual V8 Supercar chassis of all time with 26 wins after the second race, surpassing Marcos Ambrose’s legendary Stone Brothers chassis.
Davison had to settle for second in both races after succumbing to early first-lap passes, while Shane Van Gisbergen held on to his position throughout, after starting from third in both throughout, to make two podiums.
The double win solidifies Whincup’s position at the top of the championship on 3260 points, 270 clear of next placed Mark Winterbottom of Orrcon Steel Ford, who finished sixth and fourth, from seventh on the grid.
Meanwhile, Craig Lowndes of Team Vodafone, now in third position 337 points off the lead, finished eighth and 11th, having started from ninth and 12th. Fourth-placed Davison’s two second-place finishes closed the gap on Lowndes to 236 points and fifth-placed Van Gisbergen is now just 333 points behind Davison.
With one race left on Sunday and two more stages left after this — the 13th event of the 15-stage series — there remains a maximum 700 points on offer from the last seven races of the season.
“I’ve been in this position before,” said Whincup. “As I said the last round and the round before, it always comes down to a handful of points in Sydney [the last stage of the series].
“So it’s certainly not a foregone conclusion. We’ve still got to keep our focus and try to stay ahead of car five [Mark Winterbottom] and Triple Eight [Craig Lowndes] to start with.”
Second placed Davison, meanwhile, expressed some dissatisfaction with twice losing his pole advantage. “I’m disappointed it wasn’t a bit better of a race, but it felt pretty good, I drove pretty hard and Jamie just had a little bit more,” he said.
“There’s a few sections of the lap where I could catch right up and then there were some sections where I was weak.”
Gisbergen said: “I wish I had the run of the front two here, but I couldn’t quite hold on to them. We need to make a few tweaks to match these front guys but it’s good to be on the podium twice in a day.”