‘I nearly crashed 15 times’: Whincup’s 'stupid' ploy
A "MASSIVE risk" in qualifying from Jamie Whincup has kept alive Holden co-driver Craig Lowndes' chances of moving one step closer to idol Peter Brock's Bathurst 1000 record.
Seven-time series champion Whincup appeared to be struggling in a wet qualifying session at Mount Panorama on Friday, sitting fourth last in the 26-strong field with 10 minutes left on the clock.
However, the four-time Bathurst champion somehow muscled his Holden around the treacherous, rain-soaked track to finish seventh fastest at the last minute and lock in a spot for Saturday's top 10 shootout.
Whincup can now have a crack at pole position, with only the top 10 qualifiers featuring in Saturday afternoon's shootout ahead of Sunday's Great Race.
"I nearly crashed about 15 times," Whincup said of his qualifying effort in the wet.
"It was a massive risk just to get in the top 10.
"While we're not celebrating, we're happy that we're in the top 10 but it took a stupid amount of risk to finish P7 (seventh)."
Race organisers were no doubt breathing a sigh of relief after Whincup's heroics.
Whincup's co-driver, Lowndes, has become the poster boy for the 2019 race, which marks his long-awaited return to Supercars after he announced his retirement from full-time racing last year.
Fan favourite Lowndes, 45, has signed on as a co-driver with Whincup's Red Bull Racing team for the three endurance rounds, starting with Bathurst, until the end of 2021.
And now that Whincup has kept Red Bull Racing in the top 10 mix, seven-time Bathurst champion Lowndes can dare to dream of one day eclipsing Brock's Mount Panorama milestone.
Lowndes is equal second on the all-time Bathurst winners' list and just two short of Brock's remarkable nine victories on the mountain.
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