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Australian V8 Supercars open the season at Abu Dhabi

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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-24-10 02:34 PM
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Australian V8 Supercars open the season at Abu Dhabi
The 2010 Australian V8 Supercar Championship opened on the spectacular Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

The event featured two 200km races which finished under lights for the first time in the Series history. It was the first of two rounds in the Middle East double header season opener.

The anticipation going into the event was considerable with all of the drivers itching to get out on the impressive US$1.3 billion track, which had been the setting for the final event of the 2009 F1 season. The V8 Supercars were only the second international motorsport category to race on the circuit after Formula 1 and raced on a section of the track that their cars did not utilise. Dubbed the corkscrew this section features a high speed left, right, left turn sequence and drops 15m in elevation across 100m of distance.

Friday qualifying consisted of a twenty minute session followed by a top ten shootout. Some of the drivers excelled during qualifying while others struggled with new setups and the new circuit. In the end though it was defending champion Jamie Whincup who defied his critics to take pole position.

The first race saw Ford Performance Racings Mark Winterbottom, who was second on the grid, get the jump on Whincup off the line and in the lead by the first corner. The incidents began before the end of the first lap when Jim Beam Racings Steven Johnson hit Stone Brothers Racings Shane van Gisbergen who then hit the Commodore of Russell Ingall. All three drivers slipped back through the field and Johnson was later penalised for the incident.

By lap eight Whincup had overtaken Winterbottom, who faced a ten second penalty for being lined up on the grid incorrectly. Paul Morris, filling in for Greg Murphy, received a penalty for his role in an incident with Jack Daniels Racings Todd Kelly who also came together with Holden Racings Garth Tander as a result. It was not the only misfortune for the Holden Racing Team with Will Davison parking his car after the engine let go on the 30th lap of the race.

In the end it was a Team Vodafone one-two with Whincup first and Craig Lowndes second. Winterbottom fought his way back through the field after his penalty to finish third.

It was hard to keep up in the all in twenty minute Saturday qualifying session as the times continued to fall and different drivers jumped to the top of the timesheets. It was Mark Winterbottom who took pole in the dying seconds of the session on his one and only attempt to set a good time after the Ford Performance Racing Team spent most of the session fixing a brake problem in his car.
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