Commodores King as Jamie Whincup and James Courtney duke it out
Former V8 Supercar champions Jamie Whincup and James Courtney have taken a win a piece in races one and two of the 2016 V8 Supercars championship at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.
Whincup and his Red Bull Racing Australia Holden took a clean and simple win in race one, beating maiden pole-sitter Scott Pye off the line at the start then not looking back.
Race two however was a different story. Starting from second, Whincup had a rough start — opening the door for second-row starter Courtney, who followed pole-sitter Chaz Mostert through turn one.
With Mostert losing two positions in one go at turn nine, letting both Holdens past by turn 11, Whincup and Courtney dug in to engage in a tight and memorable ten-lap tussle for the win.
The pair raced nose-to-tail, with the margin between them rarely exceeding four-tenths of a second. But Courtney was able to hold off Whincup's spirited advances to take yet another win at a circuit where he tends to excel.
"It was an amazing battle, shows why [Whincup] is such a champion," said a puffed Courtney.
"To go wheel-to-wheel with him for all day really today has been fantastic. And even better for the HRT car to come out on top. We've been in a huge hole, and to have a couple of good strong qualifyiers and [...] races, we can't thank everyone enough."
"That was madness. That was good quality motorsport," added a similarly tired Whincup.
Scott McLaughlin had a consistent day at the office, often showing good speed with his Wilson Security Volvo. Photo / Garry Rogers Motorsport
While Whincup and Courtney took the spoils, New Zealanders Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin also had time under the spotlight.
McLaughlin and his Volvo S60 took a pair of fourth-placed finishes over the two races, while van Gisbergen was able to take third in race one. Any chance of a big result in race two was spoiled by a fumbled pit stop, but the driver — on debut for his new Red Bull Racing Australia team — recovered to finish in fifth, claiming the fastest lap of the race in the process.
"It's bloody hot out there. The car's really good, we've made some changes. Thanks to Red Bull for making things easy for me.," said van Gisbergen after his third-place performance in race one.
For the remaining three Kiwis, Fabian Coulthard, André Heimgartner, and Chris Pither, matters were mixed. On debut for DJR Team Penske, Coulthard took an unspectacular 10th and 14th. Heimgarter was able to keep out of trouble to finish 22nd and 20th.
After finishing 18th in race one, Pither crashed out hard in the early laps of race two — grabbing the wall on the outside of turn eight at high speed, then slamming into the adjacent inside wall next to the recessed gap in the fencing. It's unknown whether Pither and the Super Black Racing entry will be able to return to race in tomorrow's finale.
1. Jamie Whincup 2. James Courtney 3. Shane van Gisbergen 4. Scott McLaughlin 5. Garth Tander 6. Todd Kelly 7. Craig Lowndes 8. Mark Winterbottom 9. Rick Kelly 10. Fabian Coulthard
1. James Courtney 2. Jamie Whincup 3. Chaz Mostert 4. Scott McLaughlin 5. Shane van Gisbergen 6. Michael Caruso 7. Scott Pye 8. Jason Bright 9. Will Davison 10. Craig Lowndes