Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Racing Australia, Holden) held onto the lead from pole at the start, with teammate Craig Lowndes running second, and Jonathan Webb (Tekno Autosports, Holden) third at the end of Lap 1. By Lap 6 Whincup had stretched his lead to 1.0870 sec, building a 2.0903-sec gap by Lap 9.
Whincup continued to pull away as the first wave of pit stops began, holding a 3.4061-sec lead on Lap 12. Lowndes pitted on Lap 13. Webb pitted two laps later. Whincup came in on Lap 16. Whincup maintained his lead over Lowndes at pit exit, with Fabian Coulthard (Lockwood Racing, Holden) moving into third.
At Lap 20 Whincup’s lead on Lowndes stood at 0.9941 sec. Shane van Gisbergen (TEKNO Team VIP, Holden) was fighting Coulthard for P3 from Lap 21 on. The gap between P1 and P2 remained just under 1-sec with two laps to go. On the last lap Webb ended up taking P4 from van Gisbergen instead. Leaving the Top 3 as Whincup, Lowndes, and Coulthard, with Whincup taking his second victory of the day and Red Bull registering its second 1-2 finish. The win was also Whincup’s fourth in a row, including the last two at Perth.
Some quotes from the post-race press conference:
What was the difference between the first-race 1-2-3 and the second-race 1-2-3?
Whincup: (laughing) “It was easier the second time because I didn’t have to pass [Coulthard]!”
Whincup: “Was definitely at Top 5 as far a cabin temp. Was absolutely spent after the first one and wasn’t sure how we were going to keep it up for the second.
RBR’s gap on the rest
Whincup: ”Obviously both RBR Australia cars were very quick. We had a very good run at Perth, found a gain there and wanted to see if we could carry it into this weekend and we have.”
More action tomorrow?
Whincup “It always tightens up. All the other guys will no doubt make set-up changes tomorrow.”
What the key to Whincup’s success on international circuits:
“It’s just a coincidence. I do like Abu Dhabi as well. Nothing more than that.”
How’s the track for racing?
Coulthard: “It’s quite hard to pass. But everybody’s in the same boat on that. It’s got plenty of character.”
Tires are lasting longer than expected
Whincup: “[The series] has come with the wrong compound this weekend. We’ll make them softer next time to wear more quickly.”
What do you have for Jamie tomorrow?
“We adjusted the car between races. We had too much understeer the first race. Was more satisfied with Race 2 than Race 1. We had a much better balanced car. I’m quicker through Turns 3 4 5 6 7, he’s faster through 17 18 19. The cars are pretty much identical, so it’s a credit to Jamie. He’s getting a little more out of it.”
1. Jamie Whincup (Red Bull)
2. Craig Lowndes (Red Bull) +1.0981
3. Fabian Coulthard (Lockwood) +10.6924
4. Jonathan Webb (Tekno) +10.8520
5. Shane van Gisbergen (TEKNO VIP) +11.1946
6. Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max FPR) + 14.9792.