Team Vodafone's Jamie Whincup made it two for two as he took victory in the second race of The Island 300 at Phillip Island. From pole position, Whincup made a great start and, apart from a couple of laps during the first round of pit stops, led from start to finish, recovering some of the ground he has lost in recent races.
Rick Kelly followed up his third place in race one with second in race two, and was the only driver able to stay close to Whincup in the second half of the race. In a repeat of race one, Garth Tander moved up through the order in his Holden Racing Team Commodore during the race to finish third after starting 12th. In an even bigger climb up the order, Jim Beam Racing's James Courtney finished just behind Tander in fourth after starting the race down in 18th position. Fujitsu Racing's Jason Bright completed the top-five finishers.
Whincup's teammate Craig Lowndes finished seventh after a busy race, three times being all but spun by Jason Bargwanna as well as a late turn-in at Doohan Corner forcing Lowndes onto the inside curb. Eventually, exiting Honda Hairpin on lap 25, Bargwanna spun after he moved across the nose of Lowndes' car on the exit and light contact was made. However, Lowndes saved his car after each contact. Despite the contact between the two cars not being only one-way, Lowndes may yet be the one to pay a penalty in the end.
With Whincup winning the race, 11th place was not what Will Davison needed but it was all he was able to salvage. Remarkably, his finishing position could have been worse.
Davison benefited from a drive-through penalty for Todd Kelly while running in fifth, a tire problem that forced Steven Johnson to pit after running in third, and Jason Richards making contact with a lapped Greg Murphy which saw Alex Davison fall off in sympathy.
In fact, lap two contact at Doohan Corner when Shane van Gisbergen punted Mark Winterbottom out of third place, forcing Winterbottom's retirement soon after, means Davison may well have finished five places higher than he could have, and he may still gain two more places if both van Gisbergen and Lowndes receive penalties.
However, the whole field was lucky to survive unscathed a midrace safety car period after the safety car sat just past the pit exit, over the crest of the pit straight. Despite the leader exiting the pits and flashing his headlights at the safety car, it remained stationary. While aware of not being allowed to pass the safety car unless waved past, the leading drivers were wary of cars that hadn't just pitted and would be near race-pace as they tried to maintain position, and so the leaders moved slowly past the safety car.
It was lucky they did so, because the cars on the racetrack approached at speed as they tried to get ahead of the leading cars who had just pitted. Luckily, drivers avoided an incident, but an incident involving the two Jim Beam cars and Todd Kelly was only narrowly avoided, an incident which also could have collected the safety car.
With two rounds remaining and 600 points up for grabs, Whincup has eked out a small lead over Davison, again, of 122 points. Davison's teammate Garth Tander still remains an outside chance, 340 points behind Whincup in third, while Whincup's teammate Lowndes' title hopes are officially over, 613 points off his teammate's total.
Pos Driver Make Time
1. Jamie Whincup Ford Falcon FG 1:17:54.0865
2. Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 5.2129
3. Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE + 13.3491
4. James Courtney Ford Falcon FG + 15.0831
5. Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG + 18.7172
6. Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG + 20.0288
7. Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon FG + 26.1522
8. Paul Dumbrell Holden Commodore VE + 27.4069
9. Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG + 28.7205
10. Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE + 31.2659
11. Will Davison Holden Commodore VE + 33.1736
12. Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG + 33.7595
13. Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE + 34.2639
14. Steven Richards Ford Falcon FG + 35.1248
15. Jason Richards Holden Commodore VE + 39.4251
16. Tim Slade Holden Commodore VE + 43.4473
17. Tony D'Alberto Holden Commodore VE + 47.7674
18. David Reynolds Holden Commodore VE + 48.9194
19. Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE + 51.6028
20. Michael Patrizi Ford Falcon BF + 55.8708
21. Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 1:01.5685
22. Mark McNally Holden Commodore VE + 1:03.4018
23. Jack Perkins Holden Commodore VE + 1:05.7095
24. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG + 1:14.6214
25. Cameron McConville Holden Commodore VE + 1:26.0015
26. Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE + 1 lap
27. Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE + 1 lap
Driver Make Laps
Dean Fiore Holden Commodore VE 18
Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 1