Whincup gets sinking feeling at Bathurst

For the first time, six-time V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup is getting that sinking feeling.

And with plenty of rain forecast for Sunday’s Bathurst 1000, that may not change any time soon for the Holden superstar.

Whincup admitted his Holden had no answer for the wet after floundering in top-10 qualifying on Saturday.

Instead, Whincup went into survival mode during the flying lap in atrocious conditions and will start eighth from the grid in the Great Race.

But that appears to be the least of his problems.

Whincup, who is eighth in the standings, had hoped to turn his season around at the double-points Bathurst round.

Yet he struggled to find answers during one lap in slippery conditions.

The Bathurst 1000 comprises of 161 laps and the forecast for Sunday is miserable.

No wonder four-time Bathurst winner Whincup is nervous.

“Conditions were tough out there during the shootout, but it was the same for everyone,” Whincup said.

“(But) I don’t think we’re competitive enough in the wet.

“We need to do some work.

“I think tomorrow is going to be very, very wet.

“Most of the running will be in those conditions and I’m not sure how we’ll finish.

“If we don’t do something we won’t be competitive.”

The defending V8 series champion is still trying to live down last year’s effort in which he defied team orders and pushed his Holden to the brink, only to run out of fuel on the final lap on Mount Panorama while leading.

Whincup last won Bathurst in 2012.

Back then Whincup held off David Reynolds, finishing just 0.313 of a second ahead of the Ford gun – the fourth closest finish in Bathurst history.

History doesn’t look like repeating if the rain keeps up on Sunday, as expected.

Reynolds gave Whincup a lesson in wet weather driving when he eased his way around Mount Panorama in shocking qualifying conditions on Saturday to claim his maiden Bathurst pole.

“I might have got lucky with the conditions but I tried to put a good lap in,” Reynolds told reporters.

“It was safe and it was fast.

“I don’t think I’d ever done a lap here in the wet before, so I just tried to stay off the white lines and the kerbs.”

Nothing can be read into qualifying positions at the Bathurst 1000.

Ford’s Chaz Mostert missed qualifying altogether last year before launching a stunning last to first Great Race victory for the ages.

But Whincup admitted it wouldn’t matter where he started on Sunday if his car did not improve in the wet.

“If it’s wet tomorrow we’re in a bit of trouble,” said Whincup, whose co-driver is Paul Dumbrell.

“It’s good in the dry but not so much in the wet.”

The 55th Great Race starts at 1100 AEDT.

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