Whin­cup tipped to win Townsville 400

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

DUE to the fact that he has strung to­gether seven con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries on street cir­cuits, reign­ing V8 Su­per­car Cham­pion Jamie Whin­cup goes into this week­end’s in­au­gu­ral Townsville 400 as favourite.

The fact that his 888 Voda­fone Fal­con Team, led by Roland Dane, is ar­guably the most pro­fes­sional out­fit in the cham­pi­onship is also in Whin­cup’s favour.

The abil­ity of team en­gi­neers to give driv­ers the op­ti­mum car set-up for the street cir­cuit will be a huge test for all teams when there is no pre­vi­ous data, as is the case this week­end.

For­tu­nately the added com­pli­ca­tions of de­cid­ing when to use the soft com­pound op­tional tyres is not an is­sue with the harder com­pound, more durable tyres be­ing used this week­end for both races.

In the “red cor­ner” the Holden Racing Team is ar­guably the most pro­fes­sional out­fit with their driv­ers Will Dav­i­son and Garth Tan­der cur­rently sec­ond and third in the cham­pi­onship af­ter five of 14 events.

How­ever, in the last race at Dar­win’s Hid­den Val­ley Race­way, a non-fac­tory team was vic­to­ri­ous with Michael Caruso steer­ing his Gary Rogers Motorsport Valvo­line Com­modore to a well de­served win.

Queens­land pri­va­teer team Dick John­son Racing’s Steven John­son is fourth in the cham­pi­onship fol­low­ing some strong per­for­mances.

An­other fac­tor in the equa­tion is the ex­pected 30 de­gree am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture with tem­per­a­tures in­side the cars climb­ing to 45 en­ergy sap­ping de­grees. With two 72-lap, 200km races to be con­tested, one to­day and one to­mor­row, driver fit­ness and stamina will be truly tested.

In the event of the in­evitable crashes on street cir­cuits there are very few run-off ar­eas or es­cape op­tions, with fol­low­ing driv­ers of­ten left with nowhere to go to avoid the car­nage ahead.

Nev­er­the­less, more than 100,000 race fans, in­clud­ing thou­sands from the Cairns re­gion with many ex­pe­ri­enc­ing their first ever V8 Su­per­car race, will be treated to a great week­end of racing on the Reid Park street cir­cuit.


SEC­OND gen­er­a­tion Aussie driver David Brab­ham headed up strong per­for­mances by Aus­tralians on the in­ter­na­tional stage in re­cent weeks.

The 43 year old, who has been racing sports cars in Europe and Amer­ica for many years and has two class wins for As­ton Martin in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race, fi­nally claimed out­right victory in a Peu­geot 908, 16 years af­ter his older brother Ge­off also won in a Peu­geot.

Brab­ham, along with team driv­ers Mark Gene and Alexan­der Wurz, moved into their race winning lead af­ter six hours, their pro­to­type 5.5 litre V12 diesel en­gine per­form­ing fault­lessly for 24 gru­elling hours.

The big­gest win of Brab­ham’s che­quered ca­reer came in the same year as his fa­ther Sir Jack’s 50th an­niver­sary of his first For­mula 1 win. South Aus­tralia’s Vern Schup­pan is the only other Aus­sue to win the Le Mans 24 Hour.

Mean­while, fel­low Aus­tralians Mark Web­ber, Mar­cus Am­brose, Ryan Briscoe and Ja­son Crump all stood on the podium.

Web­ber came from be­hind in his Red Bull Re­nault to fin­ish sec­ond at Sil­ver­stone in the Bri­tish F1 GP and is fourth in the cham­pi­onship.

Am­brose, af­ter start­ing 41st due to an en­gine change, fin­ished an in­cred­i­ble third at In­fi­neon road cir­cuit in the NASCAR Sprint cup and is in­side the top 20 in 8th.

Indy Car driver Ryan Briscoe re­tained his cham­pi­onship lead when he fin­ished sec­ond at the Iowa Speed­way.

Af­ter winning round four of the World Speed­way Mo­tor­cy­cle GP, Queens­land’s Ja­son Crump sits atop the cham­pi­onship ta­ble, a mas­sive 28 points ahead of 21-yearold sen­sa­tion Rus­sia’s Emil Say­fut­di­nov and is on track for his third world ti­tle.

An­swer­ing ques­tions: Townsville 400 V8 Su­per­car favourite Jamie Whin­cup at a press con­fer­ence ear­lier this week.

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