Will Davison produced two of the season's greatest drives
Photo: Australian News Channel Pty Ltd
6. Craig Lowndes (Eastern Creek, race one)
Lowndes came into the race in hot form after taking a clean sweep at Queensland Raceway, but he disappointed in qualifying, managing only to grab sixth on the grid while teammate Jamie Whincup took pole position. Whincup, however, fluffed the start, and Jonathon Webb, who started on the front row and was the only one of the leading drivers on soft tyres, set about building a commanding lead in the early stages. Lowndes moved up to fourth off the start, but his masterstroke came on lap 11 when he made the change to soft tyres. He jumped to the front of the queue chasing Webb and had no trouble moving into the lead when the Tekno driver had to make his pitstop for hard tyres. Once Lowndes took the lead he had a fight on his hands to keep ahead of Mark Winterbottom, whose tyres were in much better shape, but he managed in the end to win by just over one second.
5. Will Davison (New Zealand, race one)
Davison could do no wrong in the early part of the season, and this race was the perfect example. After qualifying down in sixth, he wasted no time passing the top-three starters. Shane Van Gisbergen took the lead into the first corner but went in too deep, locked-up, and copped a bump from David Reynolds. Tander then snatched back the lead as Reynolds understeered wide at turn two while Davison followed through, avoiding the carnage. Tander headed the field through the first round of pitstops, but he was unable to fend off Davison, losing out to him on lap 27, with the FPR man not looking back once he took the lead.
4. Craig Lowndes (Hidden Valley, race two)
Hidden Valley had been something of a bogey track for Lowndes, who hadn't had a win at the circuit since 2007, but he got the monkey off his back in fine style this year. The Ford Performance Racing crew seemed to have the pace in this race, qualifying ahead of the Triple Eight drivers, but they made an error of judgement in changing to a three-stop strategy when Jason Bright and David Russell collided on lap 12. Whincup and Lowndes stuck with their two-stop strategy, which proved to be the right move. The race became a battle between the two Triple Eight drivers until Lowndes made his move with three laps remaining, grabbing a much-needed victory.
3. Will Davison (Clipsal 500, race two)
Never let it be said that Davison isn't a driver that learns from his mistakes. After running out of fuel while leading in the first leg of the race, he managed his fuel load perfectly on the Sunday to greet the chequered flag first. Whincup was in charge of the race until lap 28 when he radioed to his team his car had problems. In that period Tander, Davison and Winterbottom swept past. Tander held the lead for another 10 laps before Davison moved to the front and was never headed, making amends for his error the previous day.
2. Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff (Sandown 500)
The return of the Bathurst warm-up event to Sandown proved enormously successful, with the race being one for the ages. Stone Brothers Racing co-driver Luke Youlden maintained the lead early from pole position, but dropped back to fifth thanks to a slow first pitstop, allowing the car of Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell to take the lead, which was an amazing effort after they had qualified 19th. The Triple Eight pairing kept the lead for the majority of the race, but with 20 laps to go Whincup made a mistake at turn two to let the Lowndes/Luff car through, giving Luff his first ever V8 Supercar victory.
1. Jamie Whincup (Townsville, race two)
The race looked like it might become a Ford Performance Racing benefit at the start, with David Reynolds leading Winterbottom and Davison. Whincup began from ninth on the grid and worked his way through traffic before passing the FPR trio during pitstops around the mid-point of the race, as did his teammate Lowndes. Whincup's intense battle with Lowndes was the highlight of the race, with the 2012 champion holding his nerve to take a clean sweep at the Reid Park street circuit.
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