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V8 Supercars Winton: Jamie Whincup closes on title with win

Jamie Whincup Triple 8 Holden Winton V8 Supercars 2012

Jamie Whincup led home Craig Lowndes in a one-two for the Triple 8 Holden squad in the first race at Winton on Saturday to continue his march towards a fourth V8 Supercar title.

The race was dominated by tyre strategy after the safety car appeared to allow the wreckage of an opening lap shunt between Jason Bright, Rick Kelly and James Courtney to be cleared up.

The bunching-up that took place looked set to hand James Moffat an unlikely win after the Dick Johnson Ford driver started the race on the softer of the two compounds of tyre that must be used.

But his pace slackened off after he switched to the harder rubber later in the race, and Moffat could not prevent Whincup coming through for his 12th win of the year.

Lowndes was over three seconds behind by the chequered flag with Lee Holdsworth stepping onto the podium for the first time since joining the Stone Brothers Ford team in third.

Polesitter Mark Winterbottom, who ran out of fuel on the final lap and lost a spot to Holdsworth, was fourth. He now trails Whincup by 326 points, meaning his rival is likely to be crowned champion on Sunday. Moffat was fifth.

Next up were Tim Slade, Jonathon Webb, Garth Tander, Michael Patrizi and Tony d'Alberto, who took only his second top-10 finish of the 2012 season.

Stone Brothers Ford driver Shane van Gisbergen retired early on, the Kiwi pushing Will Davison's FPR Falcon into Tim Blanchard, who was the only one able to continue.

Results - 46 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team/Car                  Time/Gap
 1.  Jamie Whincup        Triple 8 Holden      1h08m36.3754s
 2.  Craig Lowndes        Triple 8 Holden           + 1.706s
 3.  Lee Holdsworth       Stone Brothers Ford      + 13.600s
 4.  Mark Winterbottom    FPR Ford                 + 13.638s
 5.  James Moffat         Dick Johnson Ford        + 19.056s
 6.  Tim Slade            Rosenberg/SBR Ford       + 20.757s
 7.  Jonathon Webb        Tekno Holden             + 29.950s
 8.  Garth Tander         HRT Holden               + 32.366s
 9.  Michael Patrizi      Tekno Holden             + 33.063s
10.  Tony d'Alberto       D'Alberto Ford           + 38.304s
11.  David Reynolds       Rod Nash/FPR Ford        + 44.624s
12.  Russell Ingall       Walkinshaw/HRT Holden    + 46.376s
13.  Rick Kelly           Kelly Holden             + 48.703s
14.  Fabian Coulthard     Kelly Holden             + 55.044s
15.  Steve Owen           Paul Morris/DJR Ford     + 58.804s
16.  Steven Johnson       Dick Johnson Ford      + 1m03.376s
17.  David Wall           Britek/BJR Holden      + 1m04.623s
18.  Alexandre Premat     Garry Rogers Holden    + 1m11.221s
19.  Dean Fiore           Triple F/DJR Ford      + 1m12.646s
20.  Jason Bright         Brad Jones Holden      + 1m19.249s
21.  Karl Reindler        Kelly Holden           + 1m19.989s
22.  Tim Blanchard        Kelly Holden           + 1m23.666s
23.  Taz Douglas          Dumbrell Holden            + 1 lap
24.  James Courtney       HRT Holden                + 3 laps


     Greg Murphy          Kelly Holden               21 laps
     Will Davison         FPR Ford                   11 laps
     Shane van Gisbergen  Stone Brothers Ford         9 laps
     Michael Caruso       Garry Rogers Holden         0 laps
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