Jamie Whincup held off title rivals Mark Winterbottom and Craig Lowndes to win the final race of V8 Supercars’ Phillip Island weekend.
Lowndes had boosted his championship hopes with a superb charge to victory in Sunday’s opening race, and burst to the front again around the outside at the start of race three.
But this time Lowndes could not stay up front, with both Triple Eight Holden teammate Whincup and Ford Performance Racing’s Winterbottom overtaking him in the early laps.
Two mid-race safety cars ” the first when Lee Holdsworth’s Mercedes shed a wheel, the second after a multi-car midfield tangle on the restart lap ” kept the leaders close. Winterbottom was all over Whincup for the lead into the closing laps, but the champion produced a record lap to get a bit of breathing space.
Whincup crossed the line 0.8 second ahead as Winterbottom had to focus on pressure from Lowndes for second. The result means Whincup goes to next month’s Sydney decider 20 points ahead of Lowndes, with 300 available.
Brad Jones Racing duo Jason Bright and Fabian Coulthard completed the top five, followed by Winterbottom’s teammate Will Davison.
Nissan got two drivers in the top eight with James Moffat and Rick Kelly.