Whincup keeps Red Bull V8 party going

Jamie Whincup ensured the Triple Eight Holdens continued their stranglehold on the non-championship V8 Supercars round at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.

The six-time champion took out race three on Saturday, after engaging in a fearsome dogfight alongside teammates Shane van Gisbergen and Craig Lowndes.

At one stage they were racing three-wide at the Albert Park track, before Whincup took the lead from pole sitter van Gisbergen on lap two.

“It’s always awkward racing your teammates but it’s a good thing that we’re all at the front,” Whincup said.

“Certainly the car was much better today. I think it highlights that while we’re all in identical machinery it all comes down to how you tune it and the engineers behind the scenes are what it’s all about.”

The trio swapped paint in a willing battle before Whincup cleared out, with Lowndes’ contact with the rear of van Gisbergen’s Holden on lap one allowing Whincup to pounce.

Van Gisbergen took the chequered flag in the first two races of the four-race series on Friday.

Lowndes claimed his second podium finish of the round on Saturday after finishing second to van Gisbergen in race two.

The three-time V8 Supercars champion endured a tough time of it in the season-opening Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, sitting 14th in the overall standings with Whincup and van Gisbergen second and third behind championship leader Michael Caruso in the Nissan Motorsport car.

“We’ve come on in leaps and bounds since Clipsal … the car is responding and I’m feeling a lot more comfortable in it,” Lowndes said.

“We’re working really closely together to make it happen. It was always going to be a battle getting three cars competitive.

“There’s obviously pros and cons of running three cars but … for our (team) it’s a good time.”

The drama of the rolling starts of the first two races was absent on Saturday with all competitors making it through the hotly-contested turn one without incident.

HRT’s Garth Tander made it four Holdens past the post before Penske’s Fabian Coulthard guided his Falcon into fifth place.

Reigning champion Mark Winterbottom continued his indifferent meeting, finishing 11th.

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