Will Davison has resurrected his V8 Supercars championship bid in spectacular fashion, recovering from a race-one smash to claim the final two races of the Perth Challenge.
After having been a victim of Garth Tander's smash on Saturday, Davison recovered yesterday to easily take out race two and claim an unlikely race-three victory on quickly degrading soft tyres in a memorable battle.
Davison, teammate Mark Winterbottom and reigning champion Jamie Whincup were nose-to-tail for the last five laps, putting on a thrilling display to have the fans on their feet for the final lap.
Davison was left with just seven tyres for the race after ruining his front-right hard tyre in Saturday's accident and was forced to fend off the fast-finishing Whincup and Winterbottom after racing 35 of the 50 laps on soft tyres.
''I thought we were done there with that safety car. I thought, 'How on earth are we going to do here?''' Davison said. ''What a race. I knew the tyres would hit a cliff but they actually lasted longer than I thought. But those last five laps, I reckon I had nothing but canvas on the rear tyres.
''That last lap I was still leading and I thought I may as well have a crack at blocking, and sure enough I somehow held on. It was fantastic and a one-two with 'Frosty' [Winterbottom] somehow nipping under Jamie on the back straight. That sort of racing is what this soft/hard tyre format is all about, and I hope everyone at home enjoyed that racing. I really didn't think I'd hang on. It was one of those crazy races at the end of the day.''
On soft tyres and with Winterbottom and Whincup charging on the stronger hard tyres, Davison lost two seconds in the final laps and had Whincup bumping his rear.
Winterbottom joined the battle, the trio swapping paint for the final lap with Winterbottom forcing his way past arch-rival Whincup and bumping doors across the finish line to give FPR a one-two finish.
Whincup wasn't as thrilled. ''It was disappointing,'' he said. ''I just had to get past on the last lap. We pushed hard. That's the worst for me. There's nothing worse than being passed on the last lap.''
Davison's race looked all but over midway through when a safety car looked to put the hard-tyred pair of Whincup and Winterbottom into the box seat. With everyone taking the opportunity to pit, Davison gave up his hard tyres for softs on lap 15.
That safety car, caused by Taz Douglas spearing into the sand, effectively cost Whincup the win, the three-time series champion losing a six-second lead and being jumped by Davison on the restart.
The safety car also cost teammate Craig Lowndes a possible podium position, a mistake by race control resulting in the safety car picking up the wrong car, ruining Lowndes and Shane van Gisbergen's races by relegating them to 15th and 16th respectively. The duo lost a dozen positions each. ''It was a disgraceful bit of race management,'' a fuming Team Vodafone boss Roland Dane said. ''A complete cock-up.''
Whincup leads the championship by 29 points from Davison and Winterbottom.
-Sydney Morning Herald