Jamie Whincup won the Sandown 500 last month. Picture: Getty Images/adelaidenow.com.au
Last year’s winners Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell (Car 1) are the team to beat in the Bathurst 1000 on Sunday, having tuned up for the 2013 renewal of the classic by taking out the first endurance race of the season at Sandown last month. Car 1 led home a 1-2 finish for Red Bull Racing Australia at the Sandown 500 with Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff (Car 888) eight seconds behind their teammates. While Whincup has a good pedigree at Mount Panorama, having won the showpiece event on the V8 Supercars calendar four times, Lowndes boasts a better record, with his 2010 victory the fifth of his career in the 161 lap contest. The 39 year-old has finished on the podium eight times in the past decade.
Ford Performance Racing (FPR) hasn’t had much success on the mountain in recent years, failing to get on the podium despite having a car start from the front row in six of the past seven 1000s, including three from pole. Championship third Will Davison (Car 6) teams up with Steve Owen for FPR having won two races already in 2013, while the teams other car will be piloted by Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards (Car 5) .
Kiwi Greg Murphy has been successful here four times and will be bidding to give Holden its 30th victory in the 1000km classic when he teams up with James Courtney in Car 22 . With 28 starts between them in the great race, the pair is one of the most experienced teams in this year’s field. Murphy’s 2min06.8594 lap to qualify on pole in the 2003 Bathurst 1000 remains the fastest qualifying lap ever at Mount Panorama and he will be confident of a big showing around the same circuit after finishing fifth at Sandown.
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