Jamie Whincup just held on to triumph in a genuine ripper of a race in the Gold Coast 600 at Surfers Paradise.
Whincup spent the final lap of the race rubbing doors with Shane van Gisbergen, as the young New Zealander tried every thing in the book to take his first V8 Supercar win. It was thrilling stuff, with FPR's Mark Winterbottom literally on their tail in third and James Courtney just a few car lengths further back in fourth.
It was very much a race of two halves, with the first part punctuated by a series of safety car periods – most, inevitably involving the international stars drafted in for this weekend. But when the dust finally settled, Whincup, who'd been partnered in the Triple 8 Holden with Steve Owen, was ahead. It was only in the final laps that he finally made the tiniest of errors that gave hope to van Gisbergen that a win was possible. A great opening stint by John McIntyre put the Stone Brothers Ford in contention and van Gisbergen drove beautifully to match his best-ever series result.
From pole Winterbottom's teammate Luke Youlden instantly yielded the lead to the sister car of Steve Richards. But it all came undone when they pitted from the lead during a safety car period and Richards's co-driver Will Power wasn't ready. Youlden was stacked in line and the FPR rejoined well down the order.
But Winterbottom charged through the order. He pulled a great move on Courtney with eight laps to go, but despite homing in on the leaders, couldn't get close enough to make a move.
Warren Luff did a great job in his stint as Courtney's teammate. But the points leader Courtney almost blotted his copybook by nerfing into the barriers on cold tires. He quickly found reverse though and got going again with a bent hood and no further damage.
Jacques Villeneuve indulged in more rough and tumble but stayed out of the walls to hand the car over to Paul Dumbrell with four wheels still on it. He duly brought it home in fifth.
British touring car driver Andy Priaulx was again the quickest of the international invitees, running a strong second before handing over to Craig Lowndes, who dropped down the order to take an eventual 10th.
Sebastien Bourdais showed well again, but it all went wrong when he overshot the pit while trying to hand over to Jonathan Webb. He tried reversing in, which didn't work and earned him a drive-through penalty.
Dario Franchitti had a starring cameo, getting up to second place in his DJR Ford before his tires went off. Co-driver Steve Johnson brought their day to a premature end when he assaulted the Ford of IndyCar star Helio Castroneves, taking them both out. Despite the disappointing results, Castroneves said he'd be back next year if his schedule permits.
“Yes! It's like Dancing With The Stars – so much fun. I gotta do it,” said the Brazilian.
Pos Driver Car Result
1. Whincup/Owen Holden Commodore VE 2h29m37.7468s
2. Van Gisbergen/McIntyre Ford Falcon FG + 0.2053s
3. Winterbottom/Youlden Ford Falcon FG + 0.4859s
4. Courtney/Luff Ford Falcon FG + 1.6360s
5. Dumbrell/Villeneuve Ford Falcon FG + 17.8541s
6. Kelly/Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 22.0830s
7 Davison/Briscoe Holden Commodore VE + 23.5568s
8. Ingall/Perkins Holden Commodore VE + 23.8207s
9. Holdsworth/Ritter Holden Commodore VE + 26.0763s
10. Lowndes/Priaulx Holden Commodore VE + 30.8267s
11. Caruso/Long Holden Commodore VE + 32.8737s
12. Coulthard/Reynolds Holden Commodore VE + 35.6487s
13 Richards/Power Holden Commodore VE + 36.2643s
14 Fiore/Morbidelli Ford Falcon FG + 1m08.6125s
15. Murphy/Muller Holden Commodore VE + 1m09.9924s
16. Webb/Bourdais Ford Falcon FG + 1m12.5905s
17 D'Alberto/Monteiro Holden Commodore VE + 1m31.5315s
18 Ricciardello/Wood Holden Commodore VE + 1 lap
19. Slade/Castroneves Ford Falcon FG + 6 laps
20. Bargwanna/Tagliani Holden Commodore VE + 10 laps
Tander/McConville Holden Commodore VE 57 laps
Johnson/Franchitti Ford Falcon FG 38 laps
Reindler/Giovanardi Holden Commodore VE 37 laps
Richards/Jones Holden Commodore VE 34 laps
Kelly/Dixon Holden Commodore VE 34 laps
Pretty/Pruett Holden Commodore VE 28 laps
Thompson/Salo Holden Commodore VE 12 laps
Davison/Brabham Ford Falcon FG 3 laps
Bright/Menu Holden Commodore VE 0 laps