Motorsport: Whincup not put off by mouthy Dick

Jamie Whincup celebrates on the Bathurst podium yesterday afternoon. Photo / Getty Images
Jamie Whincup celebrates on the Bathurst podium yesterday afternoon. Photo / Getty Images

Holden's Jamie Whincup defied the criticism of motorsport great Dick Johnson to claim his fourth Bathurst 1000 crown on Sunday by the narrowest of margins.

Told he was too mentally fragile to win the Mount Panorama endurance classic, Whincup showed plenty of grit to hold off a determined challenge from Ford's David Reynolds in the 1000km race.

The victory margin was just 0.3 seconds, the fourth-narrowest in Bathurst history, and lifts Whincup alongside Greg Murphy and Allan Moffat as a four-time Bathurst winner.

It was co-driver Paul Dumbrell's first win in 12 starts at the mountain.

Pushed all the way by Reynolds, who earned the first podium of his V8 Supercars career, Whincup said the victory held a significant place in his heart in the 50th year of touring car endurance racing at the iconic venue.

He said lifting the Peter Brock Trophy in front of 57,939 fans - part of a record four-day attendance of 207,205 - easily matched anything he'd achieved in his career beforehand.

"This could be up there with the highlight of my career," he said.

"I've massively enjoyed my other Bathurst wins and championships and all that but this is a massive event. We got here on Tuesday and got swamped in the main street.

"To stand on the top step for the 50th year, without doubt, it's unbelievably special."

Whincup said Johnson's comments had given him the motivation needed as Reynolds, who partnered with Dean Canto for the race, closed in over the final few laps.

"What came in to my head with 10 laps to go was probably Dick's comments during the week that I didn't have the mental capacity to win the race," he said.

"Thought of that and that definitely helped me the last 10 laps."

Whincup's victory extended his championship lead to 161-points with teammate Craig Lowndes now his nearest rival after the 38-year-old stormed home to take third place on Sunday with co-driver Warren Luff.

Ford Performance Racing duo Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison did their title chances no good with 11th and 24th place finishes respectively.

Davison, though, was just glad to be leaving the track in one piece after his brakes failed as he hit Conrod Straight at up to 300 km/h.

The 2009 Bathurst champion speared through a sand trap and across the track, narrowly missing an oncoming car, but was unharmed when the car came to rest against a wall near turn one.

It was also a tough day for 2011 Bathurst champions Garth Tander and Nick Percat, whose title defence effectively ended when their Commodore hit a wall in the 38th lap with the pair eventually limping home in 25th position.

The V8 Supercars next round is the Gold Coast 600 at Surfers Paradise on October 19-21.

- AAP

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