V8 Supercars driver Jamie Whincup will win the championship after a good run at Winton.ANGELA TOWNSEND November 21, 2012 4:44am
Reigning V8 Supercars champ Jamie Whincup spoke to Benalla Ensign last Thursday, saying although he was confident of success on the Winton track, he would not go into the weekend over-confident.
Eight year old Mitchell Hobbs meets superstars Jamie Whincup with teammate Craig Lowndes at Thursday night's autograph session in Benalla.
Remaining cautious to the end, the 29-year-old resisted celebrating his fourth V8 Supercars championship despite dramatically clinching the title at Winton on Sunday in a race that almost went terribly wrong.
On target to claim the crown with a clean sweep of the weekend’s two races, Whincup incurred a penalty as a result of a pit-stop error that turned what should have been a victory parade into a desperate recovery drive. In spectacular form he transformed the setback into a defining performance that saw him race back from 22nd position to finish third in his Triple Eight Holden Commodore.
His veteran teammate Craig Lowndes stormed home ahead of Mark Winterbottom, whose championship lifeline was severed by Whincup’s extraordinary fightback.
By joining them on the podium, the defending V8 champion extended his points lead over Winterbottom to 317 — an unbeatable advantage with just two races and a maximum 300 points available at Sydney’s Olympic Park on December 1 and 2.
Whincup’s fourth title in five years elevates him to among the all-time greats of Australian touring car racing, joining the likes of Allan Moffat, Bob Jane and Jim Richards.
Despite competing amongst the glitz and glamour of major cities, the champion enjoys getting back to the country racing atmosphere.
‘‘The Winton track means getting back to grass-roots racing,’’ he said.
‘‘This is how motorsport started — I’m a big believer in having variety.’’
When asked about the physical and mental demands of his lifestyle, Whincup said it was ‘‘always a tough battle’’.
‘‘We race every two weeks — it’s crazy what’s involved between race meetings,’’ he said.
‘‘The mental side of things outweighs everything else.’’
Having his first taste of life behind the wheel when his father, David Whincup, got him into karting at the age of seven, Whincup said he was immediately hooked on the sport.
Remaining close to his father until his death in February this year, Whincup said his dad would be his inspiration to forge ahead to try to win the championship in his memory.
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