Jamie Whincup has sent an emphatic message to his competitors in the first race of the 2016 V8 Supercars season at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.
Starting from second on the grid, the six-time champion grabbed pole man Scott Pye of the start and didn’t waver as he cruised to victory.
“It’s certainly been a good day,” commented Whincup. “Unfortunately in the second race we didn’t quite get off the line which was the story of the race. We pushed as hard as we could but James Courtney ran a good race and the best we could do was second. A first and second finish on day one, we’ll take that and move on to tomorrow.”
It’s the third consecutive year Whincup has won the opening race in Adelaide, and the ninth year in a row Triple Eight has won the year’s first race. It is the 98th win of Whincup’s career and his 10th race win at the Clipsal 500.
James Courtney has paid tribute to the Holden Racing Team in the wake of his epic victory over arch-rival Jamie Whincup in the second race on Saturday at the Clipsal 500, declaring it was only achievable because of the technical improvements made to the factory squad’s Commodores over the summer break.
“If I was in the position I was in today in last year’s car I am 99 per cent sure I wouldn’t have stayed in front,” Courtney said post-race.
“The car is just a lot more predictable and it’s not changing its mind throughout the corners so it makes our job a lot easier.”
Whincup’s team-mate Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen finished third in the first race behind Courtney with Scott McLaughlin fourth. Both swapped finishing results in the second race with McLaughlin third and van Gisbergen fourth.
Fabian Coulthard finished 10th and 14th, Andre Heimgartner 22nd and 20th while Super Black Racing’s Chris Pither had a major shunt in the second race after finishing 18th in the opener. He will not take to the grid for the final race on Sunday . He initially glanced the concrete at turn eight but then speared across the track hitting the inside wall causing extreme damage to the right hand side of the car.