Jamie Whincup was narrowly defeated by teammate Shane Van Gisbergen at the Ipswich SuperSprint and missed his chance to secure his 100th career Supercars victory.
A victory would have made Whincup the second racer in Supercars history to accomplish that milestone, with Craig Lowndes being the first. And for much of the race, Whincup was leading as he broke out ahead on the third lap.
Whincup, Gisbergen, and Lowndes were close for much of the race, but Lowndes made a key mistake in locking his brakes up just four laps from the finish line. Gisbergen passed Lowndes to get into second. Then on the 37th lap out of 38 total, Gisbergen took the lead thanks to a key decision to undergo a late pit stop. The stop allowed Gisbergen to have fresher tires down the stretch, which proved to be decisive as he overtook Whincup with a terrific pass.
While Whincup was naturally disappointed about losing at the very end, he was calm as he talked to reporters afterwards and dismissed the importance of getting to 100 wins. According to the New Zealand Herald, Whincup observed that “I was going for the win, that’s what it was all about.”
Lowndes, who is a teammate to Gisbergen and Whincup, finished third, which meant a podium clean sweep for Triple Eight Race Engineering. Ford’s Mark Winterbottom took fourth place.
The results of the race mean that Gisbergen now trails Whincup in the championship standings by 41 points, just a bit ahead of Winterbottom.
Gisbergen’s victory was not the only highlight of Saturday’s race. Racer Scott Pye’s No. 17 Falcon suffered what is suspected to a brake failure as it slammed into the tire barrier at around 200 km/hr. Pye clambered out of the car unhurt and was medically cleared of any injuries. The repair crew worked to repair the car’s front and did it so quickly that Pye was able to get back into the race and finish 21st.
New Zealander Chris Pither also surprised everyone by securing the first pole position of his Supercars career. Unfortunately, he was unable to maintain speed and fell behind before finishing in 11th place.