A huge crash helped Jamie Whincup take out the final race and the overall prize purse for the V8 Supercars Albert Park 400 at the 2011 Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix today.
Having finished first in Friday’s opening race, and fourth in yesterday’s second race, Whincup went into today’s final already in the box seat to win the round.
But his cause was further boosted on the opening lap of the race when Craig Lowndes and Rick Kelly got together on the exit of Turn 10, crashing heavily and taking Steven Johnson and David Reynolds out with them.
The incident resulted in a lengthy Safety Car period, during which most drivers opted to pit. It was a strategic move that played into the hands of the drivers who decided to start on the harder Dunlop tyres, like Whincup, and dealt early leader Alex Davison – who started on the softer tyres – a huge blow.
While the guys on hard tyres could pit, satisfying the need to use both compounds during the race, Davison was forced to stay on track, pit under green flag conditions for the slower tyre, and drop down to 20th at the finish.
Meanwhile, Whincup was at the head of the queue of early stoppers, and soon muscled past Davison and drove into the distance, winning the Albert Park 400 and the $500,000 prize purse that comes with it.
“It was another event with a different scenario,” said Whincup.