It looked like a changing of the guard but Holden’s Red Bull Racing are not getting ahead of themselves despite dominating the Supercars’ Gold Coast 600.
In a dream weekend, RBR claimed a one-two finish in both 300km races on the tourist strip in what appeared to be a huge shot in the arm for the Holden heavyweights after playing second fiddle to Ford’s DJR Team Penske all year.
RBR star Jamie Whincup did not rule out his Holden line-up reeling in DJR Team Penske and claiming the team championship after reducing the Ford outfit’s once seemingly unbeatable series lead to just 132 points before the next round, next month’s Sandown 500.
But Whincup still took their Gold Coast results with a grain of salt after DJR Team Penske’s Supercars series leader Scott McLaughlin sensationally crashed out in qualifying and failed to contest the Sunday race on the tourist strip.
“We are not jumping to conclusions, we have respect to what happened to car 17 (McLaughlin on Sunday),” Whincup said.
“While the championship is about who is the most consistent over the year we will keep chipping away until the last lap for the last race.”
McLaughlin has been the runaway series leader, seemingly guaranteeing DJR Team Penske the Supercars team championship after winning a record 18 races this year before crashing out on the Gold Coast.
The traditionally dominant RBR outfit were not counting their chickens despite keeping the team championship dream alive but welcomed the challenge thrown down by DJR Team Penske.
“It hasn’t been frustrating. We have said for a long time that we look forward to the next big challenge, and it has come,” said seven time series champion Whincup who won the Gold Coast’s opening race.
“We understand you can’t stay on the top for 15 years.
“Over the years we have had some massive challenges and now the DJR guys are throwing plenty at us.
“They have the quickest cars at the moment but we are trying to get back to the top again.”
RBR’s Shane van Gisbergen – who claimed Sunday’s 300km event after finishing second behind Whincup in the Gold Coast opener – also relished the threat posed by DJR Team Penske.
“Having two one-two finishes, it doesn’t get much better for the team,” he said.
“It was unfortunate for Scotty and their team (following the qualifying crash) but we capitalised on it.
“The focus is now the team championship for the next two rounds.”
Seven-time Bathurst champion Craig Lowndes – who was Whincup’s co-driver on the Gold Coast who also finished second on Sunday – also wasn’t getting too excited about RBR’s weekend success.
“It’s great to be part of a successful weekend but I am not saying it is going to continue,” he warned.