Motorsport: Whincup homes in on crown

Jamie Whincup. Photo / Supplied
Jamie Whincup. Photo / Supplied

Jamie Whincup has put a throttle-hold on the V8 Supercar Championship coming into the last event, the Sydney Telstra 500 at Olympic Park.

The championship is open to Whincup or teammate Craig Lowndes going into the Sydney race from December 2-4. But Lowndes now trails the leader by 188 points with 300 up for grabs in Sydney.

Both TeamVodafone drivers performed well on Sunday at the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge in Melbourne, but Whincup's slightly better qualifying led to a start-to-finish victory with Lowndes behind FPR pair Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison.

The best of the Kiwis was Shane van Gisbergen in sixth place - the second top-10 of the weekend for the SP Tools Ford driver. Van Gisbergen remains in fourth place overall,, 35 points away from Winterbottom on third.

Fabian Coulthard was 12th and remains in 10th place overall while Greg Murphy recovered from his crash on Saturday to finish 21st and 13th in the championship.

Had it not been for Lowndes' skill on Saturday to come from 27th to fifth in dire conditions, Whincup may well already have the trophy in the cabinet.

"I think the last two weeks were pivotal," Whincup said. "I believe this race won the championship last year with James Courtney. For Sydney we will do what we have done all year. It is a huge event for our sponsor Vodafone so we need to balance that out. We had a quick car there last year and I led the race until the rain fell out of the sky and we all shunted.

"We just need to complete the job."

In their way may be Winterbottom and Davison. Winterbottom's Orrcon Steel Falcon is flying, as is Will Davison's Trading Post V8 Supercar.

"We had a good day, we tried our best," said Winterbottom. "We have definitely made massive inroads and come a long way. After Sydney we need to start next year the way we have finished."

- APNZ

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