TeamVodafone drivers Jamie Whincup and teammate Craig Lowndes maybe be behind a new badge for the 2010 season, but that didn't stop them from kicking off this year's series with a bang. The Triple Eight drivers tackled YAS in a 1-2 finish, despite Whincup's woes in practice (Whincup supposedly went too wide in a corner, causing his time, which would have set him at the pole position, to be discarded).
Vodafone's pit strategies proved to be quite effective, as Whincup held 1st for the better part of the race, only losing the spot to FPR's Mark "Frosty" Winterbottom for seven laps before he reclaimed his spot and took the checkered flag for TeamVodafone.
"It was a special day; we debuted a brand new car and to get on pole and to have a one-two in the first race... it's an amazing feeling and huge reward for the guys who have worked so hard."
-Jamie Whincup to v8supercars.com.au, "Vodafone Just Too Good"
While T8R kicked off their season with success, Garth Tander and teammate Will Davison of Toll HRT didn't fare quite as well, finishing 26th from a grocery list of issues. Tander was forced out of his spot in the Top 10 when official claimed his team had violated the rules during qualifying, bumping him to the very back of the grid. "Midfield shenanigans," as v8supercars.com.au so dubbed them, put GT into further trouble as he attempted to fight through the pack, and many a lap was spent fixing problems and damage in the pits. Garth's teammate, Will Davison, looked promising for most of the race until a major engine problem sent him to the garage.
GT's Holden VE Commodore with a rather nasty masking tape facelift at YAS Marina Circuit
Picture from "HRT's Expansion Woes" article on v8supercars.com.au
2010 Championship Series Top 5 standings, as of Race #1: YAS Marina Circuit @ Abu Dhabi
1. Jamie Whincup (TeamVodafone, Holden VE): 150pts
2. Craig Lowndes (TeamVodafone, Holden VE): 138pts
3. Mark Winterbottom (FPR, Ford FG): 129pts
4. James Courtney (Jim Beam Racing, Ford FG): 120pts
5. Lee Holdsworth (Fujitsu Racing, Holden VE): 111pts