Jamie Whincup’s V8 reign has no end in sight
ANOTHER wild storm has prevented six-time V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup from completing a clean sweep of the Sydney 500, the final event on the 2014 championship calendar.
The Holden star became the first driver to win six titles at Phillip Island last month, but had to wait until after the last race yesterday to officially be crowned champion.
Despite having already won the series, Whincup won the first race at Olympic Park on Saturday (his 13th of the season), which was contested in hot and humid conditions.
He was again leading the way in the second race of the day when a huge storm lashed the track halfway through the 37 laps.
A safety car was called after David Wall's Ford slid into a concrete barrier, but the race was eventually called off and Whincup declared the winner.
The Red Bull Racing Australia star was in fourth place in the third and final race of the weekend yesterday when the heavens opened again, leaving officials with no option but to again call the race off with 30 of the 74 laps remaining.
Wet-weather specialist Shane van Gisbergen was declared the winner, the victory leap-frogging him into second place on the overall standings ahead of Ford's Mark Winterbottom, who had a weekend to forget, spinning out on lap one yesterday after finishing last and fifth on Saturday.
The Kiwi echoed the thoughts of all the other drivers, saying it was impossible to keep driving safely.
"It was too dangerous," van Gisbergen said.
"We all want to race, but down the front straight we were aquaplaning ... it wasn't very nice."
Garth Tander, who slid off the track just moments before the safety car was called but was still allocated second place, agreed the conditions made driving too dangerous.
"People don't really know how bad it is," he said.
"It is so sketchy, you can't see where the track ends and the walls start."
Van Gisbergen may have received the trophy for winning race 38, but this season has been all about Whincup.
His Red Bull teammate Craig Lowndes said he was certain the 31-year-old was capable of winning plenty more championships.
"It's been tremendous - no doubt he's a class act," Lowndes said.
"I think every decade you have the drivers of the decade, and he's definitely this one, no doubt about that.
"He's still young - it's really up to him how long he wants to drive for, but he's very dedicated and very focused so who knows how many he can win?"
- APN SPORTS BUREAU
2015 top five
1: Jamie Whincup
(right) (Holden) 3364 pts
2: Shane van Gisbergen
(Holden) 2778 pts
3: Mark Winterbottom
(Ford) 2763 pts
4: Craig Lowndes
(Holden) 2656 pts
5: Scott McLaughlin
(Volvo) 2509 pts