When Jamie Whincup arrived at the Bahrain International Circuit for the Gulf Air Desert 400, no one knew that he’d be ending the weekend with three victories under his belt. His cumulative hat-trick of victories helped him to win the Gulf Air Desert 400 and will go a long way in helping with his pursuit of the V8 Supercars Australia driver’s title.
It all started on Friday night when Jamie Whincup drove spectacularly to win the weekend opener. He returned the next day and stuck with his blistering pace, helping him to keep his Ford Falcon ahead of the pack for most of the day. He won the second race, going on to win the third before the day was over. While his second win didn’t seem too difficult, there was a moment of tension in the third race where he had a spirited battle for the top spot with Russell Ingall in the earlier stages of the race. Ingall rocketed away from the grid and took the lead from the pole-sitter on the first turn. But it seems that Whincup was not to be outdone and he regained first place on the second lap when he overtook Ingall on the Bahrain International Circuit’s long straight just before round three. But that wasn’t the end of it. Ingall wasn’t going to let Whincup have the race without a fight and so he managed to outsprint Whincup after the first safety car period. Unfortunately for him, Whincup managed to pull off a jaw-dropping maneuver as he overtook Ingall on the inside of turn one on their sixth lap. After that, Whincup seemed to decide enough was enough and he put plenty of space between himself and Ingall. Ingall lost a few places during the course of the race and after some brilliant driving initially, ended up in fifth place. Jamie Whincup’s weekend full of victories gave him the 11th round win. He came away from the event with 300 points.
From the podium, Whincup commented: “We weren’t quite sure what our pace was going to be here, but as it turned out we were one-two in qualifying and then one-two in the round results, so I’m pretty happy with that. I must admit I had a relatively easy job battling with a much better car today. I enjoyed the racing, and all I had to do was get into that number one position and get away.” Whincups Team Vodafone partner Craig Lowndes was the runner-up at the day’s race, finishing with 264 points overall with two third-place finishes. He added: “It’s a huge turn-around for us from last year when we struggled to be in the top ten. This year, we had a much better car and I’m delighted with the result.” Despite his disappointing finish in the third race, Supercheap Auto Racing’s Russel Ingall finish third in the overall standings with a second in race two and his fifth in race three, he tallied up 246 points.