28th June 2008

Ford’s awesome foursome

posted in Car News Articles |
It was Jamie Whincup Day as Ford ran supreme at Sandown.

Team Vodafone star Jamie Whincup was last night crowned the Midas 400 champion as Ford battered Holden at the Melbourne round of the V8 Supercars.

Whincup led the charge for the Blue Oval, winning two out of the three races, as Holden slumped to their worst defeat of the year.

In a crushing win at Sandown raceway, Ford took out the top four spots for the round, with veteran driver Russell Ingall flying the flag for Holden in fifth spot (212 points).

A disappointing round also saw Holden Racing Team star Garth Tander lose the championship lead to Ford Performance Racing driver Mark Winterbottom.

A highlight of race three was Whincup producing the first sub-1min 10sec lap.

“That lap I probably won’t forget for a long time. I’ll probably never forget it. It has been a fantastic day,” he said.

The Sandown V8 Supercar event exploded to life on the final day with Ford superstar Craig Lowndes dramatically failing to start race three after snapping an axle during a warm-up lap.

After winning race two, the three times Bathurst champion sustained fatal damage while breaking into a corner and surrendered his pole position.

“We went out, went through turn one and it went bang,” Lowndes said while stranded in the garage.

“It started going left and I knew it was an axle.”

With Lowndes out of the race, his Team Vodafone teammate Whincup became embroiled in a three-way battle with fellow Ford drivers Mark Winterbottom and James Courtney.

On a slippery track, the star trio fought for position but it was a stunning Team Vodafone pit-stop that put Whincup in the lead.

“I am just glad we had the best team in the pits today,” Whincup said. “I had a great battle with Mark but it became a battle of the pit-stops. We came out in front and I held it together to win.”

The event marked the arrival of rookie driver Shane Van Gisbergen. Touted as a future champion, the Kiwi teenager lived up to the hype with a second in race two.

Winterbottom was delighted after securing the series lead.

“It is the first time ever for FPR,” Winterbottom enthused “We are excited about how we are going and to lead the championship is a big achievement.

“The car was close to good enough but Jamie had a solid weekend. We just couldn’t bridge the gap.”

Glamour team HRT had major set-up issues with Tander and veteran Mark Skaife both failing in the wet. They weren’t alone with Holden cars in general struggling to make the most of the conditions.

“The Falcons, for some reason, seem to dial into the wet a little bit better,” Ingall said.

“Having been in one myself it seems that way. They are a bit softer and absorb it a little bit better. But it is horses for courses.”

The Super Cheap Auto driver said he was ready to challenge the more “experienced” Holden team (HRT) after his surprise result.

“Yeah, we won the Holden race but that isn’t the one we want to win,” Ingall said. “We want to win overall.” ——- Midas 400 V8 Championship, Sandown — V8 SUPERCARS AUSTRALIA ——-

1 … Jamie Whincup …………. (Ford) ……. 47min:20.7150sec

2 … Mark Winterbottom ……. (Ford) ……. 47:22.8980

3 … James Courtney ……….. (Ford) ……. 27.5762

4 … Shane Van Gisbergen … (Ford) ……. 47:38.7479

5 … Todd Kelly ……………….. (Holden) … 47:39.1517 ————— Championship (after five of 14 rounds) —————

1 … Mark Winterbottom … (Ford) ……. 1124 points

2 … Garth Tander ………… (Holden) … 1072

3 … Jamie Whincup ……… (Ford) …… 1062

4 … Rick Kelly ……………. (Holden) … 1028

5 … Craig Lowndes ………. (Ford) …… 897

- The Daily Telegraph

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