2015 V8 Supercars - Rolex Australian GP
After the fantastic event in Adelaide during the first V8 Supercars event of the 2015 season, the championship moved to Melburne for a second round of the season. From 12th to 15th of March, V8 Supercars will have four race weekend as a part of bigger Formula One Australian Grand Prix event. Two of the four V8 Supercar races were held on Friday and one on Saturday and Sunday, just before Formula One race. During the Thursday,two practice and one qualifying session were held. Because the Formula One as main attraction during this weekend, the V8 Supercars races are short,basically a sprint type, only 12 laps each. This means that there is no time for tactics and waiting and soon as the race starts, the driver must drive as fast as he could. The track is Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit a street circuit build around Albert Park and it is 5,3 kilometers long.
The practice and qualifying session was dominated by two Ford Falcon drivers, Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert, both driving for Pepsi Max Crew. They were fastest during practice and Winterbottom secured the pole for the first race with Mostert second. Interestingly, the champion, Jamie Whincup was ninth in qualifying and not so fast during the practice. In the first race, held on Friday, the Winterbottom – Mostert duo was first and second, bringing the Ford 1-2 finish which this company needed for a long time and ending the Holden domination. The third was James Courtney and the fourth was Shane van Gisbergen. Jamie Whincup was sixth which is three places up from his starting position. In the second race, held some four hours after the first one, the results were almost the same, with same first three places, only Whinecup finished fifth which is a slight improvement.
Since the all four races are in Super Sprint format which means only 12 laps, fast driving and guarding your place on the grid, it is not surprising that the results of the third race were almost identical to other two. Mark Winterbottom was first and Chaz Mostert second, while the talented Shane van Gisbergen was third. The active V8 Supercars champion, Jamie Whincup couldn’t do much and finished the race on the sixth place. Ford once again took 1-2 victory which is very important for this season and self confidence of “blue oval“ guys. For the 2015 season, Ford introduced the new and upgraded version called Falcon FG X which could be better and faster than dominant Holdens. This wins proves that Falcon FG X definitely has potential and the Pepsi Max Crew drivers know how to cope with the pressure in sprint type races.
The last, forth race of this event was held on Sunday, just before the Formula One race. As expected, the final results was almost identical, with 1-2-3 positions held by Winterbottom, Mostert and van Gisbergen, just as in third race. The champion, Jamie Whincup was one place up and finished fifth. However, the rules of the sprint race includes a rolling start which was proved to be problematic since at the very beginning of the race there was a accident involving five cars. Fortunately, no body was hurt but the start of the race was chaotic and unlike other V8 Supercars races.
After the second round of 2015 V8 Supercars championship, the domination of Whinecup and Holden was stopped by Winterbottom and Mostert duo in Fords. However, since the all four races was sprint type, the drivers and the Falcon must prove themselfs some more in proper races. So the next round is Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint in 10 days time and we will see if the Whinecup and his Holden can stand not being on the podium…