Jamie Whincup back on form with Darwin wins
Normal service was resumed in the V8 Supercars series today with Red Bull Racing once again in dominating form.
Over recent years their cars have been leading the way each season, but both Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes have had plenty of low points this season, while their main rival, Mark Winterbottom, in his Ford Performance Racing car, stormed into a big lead in the championship points standings.
Red Bull Racing supporters - and even Holden fans in general - must have been worried about how Ford, as well as Scott McLaughlin in his Volvo, had been performing.
But order was restored in Darwin yesterday with Whincup winning both races.
In doing so, the V8 Supercars champion ended a first-race winless streak that stretched back to March, with victory in the opening 100km event at the Hidden Valley Raceway.
The Red Bull Racing driver led from start to finish over the course of the race to get his bid for a fourth successive title back on track.
Teammate Craig Lowndes, celebrating his 40th birthday, finished second and Holden's Shane van Gisbergen came in third.
There was plenty of interest in what would happen between van Gisbergen and his Kiwi compatriot McLaughlin if they got near each other on the track today, after their bitter clash in the last round in Perth in May, which exposed a feud between the two New Zealand drivers.
McLaughlin started this race on the front row, after coming second in qualifying, but slipped down early on and van Gisbergen was able to get the better of him, although without any nasty incidents or obscene hand gestures this time.
Championship leader Mark Winterbottom finished sixth following some late-race duelling with Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander, who finished fifth.
The other drivers in championship contention, James Courtney and Fabian Coulthard, finished eighth and ninth respectively.
Erebus Motorsport's Will Davison was the only driver to fail to finish the 35-lap race, retiring after 12 laps due to mechanical issues.
The feature race in Darwin is tomorrow, with qualifying at 3.20pm (NZ time) and the 70-lap, 2ookm race getting under way at 5.45pm (NZ time).