WHIN­CUP’S MAD DASH RE­BUILD

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT - ADE­LAIDE

IT was the 12-hour re­build that put Jamie Whin­cup back in the Ade­laide 500 fight.

In a mi­nor mir­a­cle that saved Whin­cup from dis­as­ter in the sea­son-open­ing round, Red Bull Holden Rac­ing Team (RBHT) fixed an es­ti­mated $100,000 worth of dam­age in an overnight res­cue mis­sion af­ter the reign­ing cham­pion hit a wall at 190km/h in qual­i­fy­ing on Fri­day.

Whin­cup ini­tially did not think his car could be fixed fol­low­ing the hit, in a blow that would have ended his first-up cham­pi­onship bat­tle with bit­ter ri­vals DJR Team Penske.

“It was an in­cred­i­ble ef­fort,’’ said Whin­cup. “These guys are just amaz­ing. I wasn’t sure the car could be saved.

“They worked through­out the night and I can’t thank them enough. It was my mis­take, so I reckon I owe them a few cases of beer.’’

A crew of 30 worked un­til 4.15am yes­ter­day to fix a twisted wreck and give Whin­cup a shot at Ade­laide glory.

“We left the track about 4.15am,” said RBHRT team man­ager Mark Dut­ton. “We man­aged to send a lot of peo­ple home around mid­night to 1am, then there was just the crew and a few ex­tras here un­til we got it fin­ished at 4.15am.’’

In an amaz­ing re­cov­ery, Whin­cup was able to take part in yes­ter­day’s 9.30am prac­tice ses­sion with a Holden Com­modore ZB as good as new.

“The re­pairs were fan­tas­tic,’’ Dut­ton said. “You never ex­pect it to be that good, even when you’re just re­plac­ing bits for nor­mal ser­vice without a shunt, it’s hard to be that close.

“We dropped it on and the toes were ad­justable half-amil to a mil, so next to noth­ing.

The cor­ner weights were within half-a-turn to be­ing bang on. Even when you just change a damper set, the cor­ner weights need a bit of a tweak, so that’s within a tol­er­ance of the car be­ing where it was be­fore it hit the wall.

“It’s a re­ally good re­pair, which is why we were there un­til 4am. We took our time, as painful as it was, to make sure it was as per­fect as we could get it. Apart from where it needs a bit of paint where it’s been welded, if you stuck your head un­der there you wouldn’t be able to tell where it’s been re­paired.”

Dut­ton es­ti­mated the re­pair cost over $100,000 in parts alone. And more.

“We had the time to re­place things that didn’t need to be re­placed,” he said.

“There were rock­ers, there were ex­tra pieces of com­po­nen­try ... even the right side didn’t have any vis­ual dam­age, but we re­placed ev­ery­thing just to be sure.

“When there’s such a whip on the other side, it can trans­fer through. The last thing we need is ‘we didn’t re­place that be­cause it should be fine’, when it would have taken 10 min­utes to do.’’

The Holden Red Bull Rac­ing crew re­vive Jamie Whin­cup’s car af­ter Fri­day’s shunt.

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