With Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Australia, Holden) having retired early from qualifying and lining up in P12, Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team) and Jason Bright (Team BOC, Holden) line up to start this race behind Lowndes’ teammate Jamie Whincup and Race 15 winner Fabian Coulthard (Lockwood Racing, Holden).
Shane van Gisbergen (TEKNO Team VIP, Holden) took P4 from Bright during Lap 3. A safety car came out during Lap 5, following contact between Scott McLaughlin (Fujitsu Racing GRM, Holden) and Will Davison (Pepsi Max Crew FPR Ford), both of whom retired from the race.
Tander pitted under green at the end of Lap 10. Lowndes pitted as well and moved up the field significantly on the back of a very quick tire change. Coulthard followed suit one lap later and reentered the track in front of Tander and Lowndes. Whincup and van Gisbergen pitted at the end of Lap 12. Whincup entered the track at the front of the pack, ahead of Coulthard, with van Gisbergen slotting in behind Lowndes.
Van Gisbergen took Lowndes on track, passing Tander as well on Lap 14.
At the end of Lap 21, with pit stops completed, the running order out front was Whincup, Coulthard, van Gisbergen, Tander, and Lowndes. Whincup’s lead was 1.5980 sec during Lap 23. This order stood at the end of the race.
Press conference highlights:
Whincup: “I already feel like I’ve lost 6 months of my life this weekend with the intensity.”
“The flight, and a few other things, I’ve only been getting 5 or 6 hrs a night sleep. I’ll admit I was pretty gone by the end.”
“We’ll change it up a bit next year. Soften the tires up. Maybe take the mufflers off. Was embarrassing being so quiet compared to the support series!
Coulthard : “A soft tire would make the racing more exciting.”
“I was fortunate enough to drive the track two weeks ago and we were in jumpers. Maybe we could look at moving the date.”
Van Gisbergen: “Qualifying seems to be a weakness. But it always has been of mine. So I need to work on that.”
“Very exciting for an F1 track.”
“I think one of the race schedulers should spend 27 laps in that heat and then get back in the car 20 minutes later and try to do it again.”
1. Jamie Whincup (Red Bull)
2. Fabian Coulthard (Lockwood) +2.7661
3. Shane van Gisbergen (TEKNO VIP) +5.5947
4. Garth Tander (HRT) +10.5925
5. Craig Lowndes (Red Bull) +11.3843