Holden star Jamie Whincup’s 100th Supercars race win will have to wait after being denied by teammate Shane Van Gisbergen.
The championship leader appeared to be heading for history in Saturday’s opening race of the Ipswich SuperSprint at Queensland Raceway only to have Van Gisbergen snatch victory with two laps remaining.
Van Gisbergen made the most of fresher tyres to pass Whincup on the 37th of 38 laps and claim his fourth victory of the season.
Craig Lowndes finished third to complete Triple Eight Race Engineering’s second podium clean sweep of the year.
It means Whincup remains on 99 career victories heading into Sunday’s 200km race at the 3.12km circuit.
Despite the disappointment of being pipped at the end, Whincup took a philosophical approach to the result.
The Red Bull Racing driver stormed from third to first in the opening lap but admitted he’d been battling to keep his rivals at bay.
“Story of my day – I just wasn’t quick enough,” he said.
“Bolted off the line and got to the front and was just a mobile chicane from there … Shane was coming on pretty hard. He was always going to get us.”
Van Gisbergen’s third win from his past four starts means he trails Whincup on the championship standings by a mere 41 points.
In his first season as Whincup’s teammate, he says he feels he’s coping well with the added pressure of racing a car from the same stable in the title battle.
“I think I’m normally quite calculated nowadays with those things,” he said.
“I try and be clean and race everyone hard and fair.
“I’ve been enjoying it – all the battles have been clean and hard.”
Van Gisbergen’s victory capped a dramatic day which started with Ford’s Scott Pye suffering a brake failure and arrowing off track at more than 200km/h during practice.
Pye walked away unharmed from his wrecked Falcon, which had its front end rebuilt in time to take part in the race in a mammoth effort by his team and finished 21st.
There was also a highlight for New Zealander Chris Pither, who secured the first pole position of his Supercars’ career in a shock qualifying result before finishing 11th in the race.
Sunday’s action begins with qualifying from 11.35am before the 65-lap race starts at 2.05pm.