Holden’s Jamie Whincup has completed a remarkable comeback to regain the V8 Supercars championship lead from Mark Winterbottom.
He’s completed a remarkable comeback in three rounds to regain the V8 Supercars championship lead but Jamie Whincup says nothing has been decided yet.
The Holden ace, chasing a record sixth championship, made the most of a horror day at Queensland Raceway for rival Mark Winterbottom to snatch the series lead for the first time since February.
Whincup’s sixth-place finish in Sunday’s 200km race, won by Holden’s James Courtney, was enough for him to end the weekend with a 15-point lead over Winterbottom.
It’s a stunning turnaround which has included six wins in nine races and a climb from fifth position heading into June’s Darwin event to being top of the tree ahead of this month’s Sydney Motorsport Park 400.
Despite his red-hot run and a shocker for Winterbottom, who limped home in 22nd position following a mid-race puncture on Sunday, Whincup claims he hasn’t left a psychological scar on his rival.
“Happy to be leading the championship, I’d rather be there than second or behind,” he said.
“It’s a good place to be but there’s still a long, long way to go.
“He (Winterbottom) was competitive, no doubt, in that race … we’re going to have to do a good job come the later part of the year.”
Whincup may be talking down his opponent’s fumble but there’s no doubt the challengers are closing in on Winterbottom.
Apart from a relentless Whincup, veteran Craig Lowndes is now 147 points behind the Ford Performance Racing star in third after picking up his three second-place finishes from three starts at Ipswich.
2010 series champion Courtney is also closing in after a clever tyre strategy and much improved car speed gave him his second win of the year.
The victory means the Holden Racing Team ace is less than 200 points off the championship lead in fourth position with the decisive endurance season looming.
“As a team we’re just getting stronger and stronger,” Courtney said.
“It’s becoming easier for us to qualify up the front and race up the front.
“There’s a long way to go in the championship.”
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Ford Performance Racing, with young gun Chaz Mostert picking up his second third-place finish of the weekend on Sunday despite a late battle with Nissan’s James Moffat, who had earlier in the day secured a career-first pole position.
The next stop in the V8s season will be the Sydney Motorsport Park 400 from August 22.