Unlike his famous 2006 Mount Panorama win with Craig Lowndes, Holden’s Jamie Whincup reckons the omens aren’t looking good ahead of this weekend’s Bathurst 1000.
Never usually a superstitious man, Whincup still admits the stars seemed to align 10 years ago when he helped Peter Brock’s protege and co-driver Lowndes soar to a Great Race victory.
A tearful Lowndes accepted the inaugural winning Peter Brock Trophy at the Bathurst podium back in 2006.
And the portents appeared encouraging for Whincup to claim the trophy for himself with Bathurst triumph No.5 with now co-driver Paul Dumbrell after they dominated qualifying on Thursday.
He left his best until last, clocking a scorching lap of two minutes, 05.29 seconds ahead of Ford’s Fabian Coulthard and 2014 champion Chaz Mostert in the third and final practice session on Thursday.
Yet Whincup reckoned he wasn’t counting his blessings after casting a concerning eye to the recent upset-riddled footy finals.
“The Bulldogs win the AFL, Cronulla break their NRL drought – it seems to be the year of the underdogs in Australian sport,” said Whincup, who sits second in the 2016 drivers’ standings behind Holden teammate Shane van Gisbergen.
“We will try and turn the tide as far as the footy goes.
“We feel we deserve a Bathurst win but who knows what Sunday will bring.”
Record six-time touring car champion Whincup may have tasted plenty of Great Race success but he has not savoured victory since 2012 after being left to rue his last two Bathurst campaigns.
Whincup last year sensationally ignored team orders to pit at Bathurst and then passed a safety car, relegating him from second to the back of the field with 20 laps left to eventually finish 18th.
And in 2014 the Holden gun also defied a team directive before running out of fuel on the 161st and final lap while leading the Great Race.
Whincup may be out for Bathurst redemption.
And Brock’s name may be more associated with Whincup’s former teammate Lowndes.
But Whincup believed it would be fitting to honour “Peter Perfect” with a Sunday victory in the 161-lap Great Race.
“I didn’t know him but clearly I respect him,” Whincup said of Brock who sadly passed away in the 2006 Targa West rally in Western Australia.
Two more practice sessions remain before qualifying for the Great Race starts at 1450 AEST on Friday.