V8 Supercars: Whincup within reach of fifth title

By Roje Adaimy

Jamie Whincup.
Jamie Whincup.

Only once in four years has Jamie Whincup not walked away from the Sydney 500 as V8 Supercars champion.

And it's a final round the Holden driver admits he cannot forget.

"We came here in 2010, we had a good car and then the rain bucketed down," recalled Whincup on the eve of one of the championship's most closely-contested season finales at the Sydney Olympic Park street circuit.

"We all got gobbled up by the late shower and ended up in the wall.

"It cost us the championship. It was devastating.

"That was a moment in my career which still haunts me to this day.

"I just hope the circuit is kinder to me this weekend." The 30-year-old Whincup once again heads into the last round of the season within arm's reach of a V8s title - potentially his record-equalling fifth in six years.

Not only will he have to contend with an uncharacteristically poor record at the tricky, concrete-lined circuit - his best race finish there is fifth - but also a hungry teammate and two-time Sydney winner in Craig Lowndes.

Whincup holds a 20-point lead over the 39-year-old Lowndes, who is craving his first championship since 1999.

And with a total of 300 points up for grabs over today and tomorrow's 250km races, the heat will also be felt from Ford rivals Mark Winterbottom (124 points off the lead) and Will Davison (223 points back).

"We've been battling all year and basically it's just come down to one weekend," Whincup said.

"Just finishing this race is a huge effort, let alone being competitive and winning.

"But I've got confidence that we can get there."

Lowndes knows the fight will be aggressive and is preparing to go hell-for-leather after Red Bull team boss Roland Dane made it clear there were no team orders.

"Roland wants us to race hard and fast to the chequered flag and there's no doubt we'll do that," Lowndes said.

"It's pretty simple for me: I need to beat Jamie."

- AAP

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