AFTER almost six hours of intense, exhausting combat on four wheels, Jamie Whincup claimed his fourth Bathurst 1000 victory yesterday by just 0.3 seconds from rising star David Reynolds.
The pair had a dogfight over the final 30 laps, with Reynolds climbing all over Whincup but simply unable to find the burst of speed, or the room to get past.
To add an extra element of drama, Whincup drove the last few laps on conserve fuel mode, acknowledging afterwards both what a close shave it had been, and also the efforts of co-driver Paul Dumbrell who put his name on the honour roll for the first time.
"There was half a coke-can left in it. I was trying to juggle tyres, petrol and conserve over the top - it was crazy stuff," Whincup said.
"It wasn't over until the last corner."
Dumbrell was on the verge of quitting the sport entirely, but said the victory had eradicated that thought from his mind.
"What a phenomenal day," the 30-year-old said. "You could not get a better feeling than what we are feeling right now.
"I would love to partner this bloke again next year and go back-to-back."
Back-to-back is something Whincup knows all about.
He was co-driver for Craig Lowndes in three successive victories from 2006 to 2008 when they switched to Ford.
Now back at Holden, this was Whincup's first victory as the primary driver, elevating himself alongside Greg Murphy and Allan Moffat as four-time winners. Only Peter Brock (9), Jim Richards (7), Larry Perkins and Mark Skaife (6) and Lowndes (5) have more.
Whincup said he had not given any thought to chasing down Brock's record - he just wanted to be known as a good driver.
"My goals are not result-related. I just want to stay on top of my game for as long as I can," he said.
"I'm looking for respect from my teammates and other competitors."
While Whincup and Reynolds were outstanding, the effort of Lowndes to grab third was outstanding.
Not inside the top 10 with 50 laps to go, Lowndes charged through the field to close to fifth with a handful of laps remaining.
He eventually got past both Michael Caruso and James Courtney to take yet another podium (his 11th from 19 starts).
- Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell (Commodore)
- David Reynolds/Dean Canto (Falcon)
- Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff (Commodore)
- James Courtney/Cameron McConville (Commodore)
- Michael Caruso/Greg Ritter (Commodore)
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