ADELAIDE, Australia – Jamie Whincup made a statement that he’s ready to contend for an eighth Virgin Australia Supercars championship on Saturday at Adelaide Street Circuit.
Whincup kicked off the season with a convincing victory in the first leg of the Superloop Adelaide 500, starting from the pole and controlling the race virtually from the start.
The Red Bull Holden Racing Team ace held off an early challenge from front-row companion David Reynolds, then dealt with a pesky Scott McLaughlin during the middle stages of the race after McLaughlin’s DJR Team Penske squad short-pitted him to gain track position.
Jumping from seventh to the effective lead after coming in on the seventh lap, McLaughlin led 12 laps before Whincup regained command on lap 42, right before another pit sequence.
Once that round of service wrapped up, Whincup cycled back out front on lap 55 and paced the final 24 laps of the 78-lap contest uncontested for his record-extending 119th Supercars victory.
“I had a rocket today,” said Whincup, who took the checkered flag in front by more than five seconds. “The car was excellent and we made the most of (starting from) pole position. Those boys [Shell V-Power Racing] are fast, but obviously we had track position, so we were up the road a little bit.
“I’ve got to dedicate this one to Holden; it’s been a bloody tough week for everyone involved and great to get a win,” he added. “We got smoked by the other brand [Ford] here last year, so it’s nice to bounce back.”
McLaughlin and Whincup’s teammate, Shane van Gisbergen, ultimately battled for second in the final laps before McLaughlin’s Ford found the edge in that scrap.
After starting sixth, van Gisbergen completed the podium ahead of Reynolds and Will Davison.
Cam Waters, Chaz Mostert, Mark Winterbottom, Rick Kelly and Fabian Coulthard filled out the top 10.
Jamie Whincup, Scott McLaughlin, Shane van Gisbergen, David Reynolds, Will Davison, Cam Waters, Chaz Mostert, Mark Winterbottom, Rick Kelly, Fabian Coulthard, Andre Heimgartner, Lee Holdsworth, Todd Hazelwood, Anton De Pasquale, Scott Pye, Jack Le Brocq, Macauley Jones, Zane Goddard, Chris Pither, Jack Smith, Bryce Fullwood, Nick Percat, James Courtney, Garry Jacobson.