Melbourne 400 champs: ‘We can win it all’
SUPERCARS minnows Erebus Motorsport have announced themselves as championship contenders after David Reynolds upset Jamie Whincup to win the Melbourne 400 at the Australian Grand Prix.
In a safety car interrupted Albert Park sprint, followed Scott Pye's surprise win on Saturday to storm off the start line and score his first chequered flag since his Bathurst 1000 victory last year.
After Reynolds celebrated his win by drinking champagne from his boot and dropping the winner's trophy, Erebus boss Barry Ryan declared the 32-year-old could win this year's title.
"Yes we are, definitely (championship contenders),'' Ryan said after Reynolds moved into second place on the championship table behind Whincup's teammate Shane van Gisbergen.
"We have two very solid drivers and we are all headed in the right direction. Today he was able to get the jump (on Whincup) and he was able to hold the position.
"He is driving very well and in a good head space.''
Reynolds held off a challenge from Holden's Nick Percat to win the race after it was cut short by one lap because of a safety car delay.
James Golding prompted the two-lap safety car delay on lap eight when he suffered a mechanical failure.
Known as the V8 joker, Reynolds set up the win with an aggressive start to bounce back after being criticised at the Adelaide 500 for his lack of fight.
"It was a pretty good race,'' Reynolds said.
"I got a pretty good jump and just led the race from there. Everything went to plan and there were no dramas. It was a good way to finish after the battle we had in the wet during race three.''
Whincup claimed the Larry Perkins trophy for best driver of the weekend after claiming another podium to add to his weekend haul.
But the reigning champion was left fuming following the poor start that allowed Reynolds to beat him.
"It is a bit sweet and sour to be honest,'' Whincup said.
"I am kicking myself for having a shocking fourth race. I had a terrible start. It is nice to grab the Larry Perkins Trophy because it means we did the best job over the weekend but I would still like to have that race back.
Brad Jones Racing driver Percat continued his blitz by finishing second in the Formula One prequel.
"The BJR have just done a mega job since Adelaide,'' Percat said.
"We knew we had a good car after the test day and we have rectified a few things to get us where we are now. It has been must best weekend with BJR by far and probably in Supercars. All weekend we have been in the top ten. Two podiums in one weekend is great.''
DJR Penske suffered another defeat to bitter rivals Red Bull with Scott McLaughlin finishing seventh.
The Supercars championship resumes in Tasmania on April 6 at the Tyrepower Supersprint.