Territory Stories

Sunday Territorian 1 Mar 2015



Sunday Territorian 1 Mar 2015


Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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58 SPORT SUNDAY MARCH 1 2015 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Whincup off to a flyer despite tyre troubles JAMIE Whincups perfect season start went crashing into concrete yesterday with a punctured tyre ending the Adelaide onslaught that saw the Red Bull record-breaker become the second greatest race winning driver in V8 history. Fresh from the race one win that saw him equal Holden great Mark Skaife with 90 championship wins, Whincup brushed concrete at over 200km/h after a blown tyre stopped the remarkable Clipsal 500 charge as Fabian Coulthard pounced to steal victory. With his sights firmly set on the all-time race winning record of 97 after breaking two qualifying lap records before flogging the field in race one, Whincup roared off the line and looked unstoppable. But a charging Coulthard, and some shredded rubber that went a whisker away from wrecking his car, saw the reigning champion finish back in fifth on a dominant day for Holden in a first up slaying of Ford. I felt it go and I was just lucky I could avoid the wall, said Whincup. We recovered well to finish in fifth and with the earlier win it is still a pretty good day. Coulthard powered home ahead of Holden Racing Team driver James Courtney and Red Bull star Craig Lowndes to record his first Clipsal 500 win and help Holden smack Ford by making every car a Commodore in the top five. Fastest Ford Mark Winterbottom finished sixth as the opening event became a horror show for Scott McLaughlin and his Volvo with fires, flags and penalties. It all started off yesterday by scoring the first front row start for us here at Clipsal, Coulthard said. Now to come away with the win, well that is pretty special. It is just awesome to win at such a great event and the team, all my boys, did a great job. It is not a bad feeling to be leading the championship right now too but it will be a lot nicer in December. The season fired to life with McLaughlin forced to abandon a burning Volvo on the warmup lap of race win before Whincup followed up his two record-breaking qualifying lap records with an emphatic win that saw him move to second on the all-time winners list. Whincup held off Fords Chaz Mostert to need just seven wins to equal Craig Lowndes all time record of 97. The Red Bull conqueror is widely regarded as the best championship driver in the sports history after surpassing legends Skaife, Dick Johnson and Ian Geoghegan record of five championship crowns when he won his sixth last year. The car was obviously fantastic and it is a perfect way to start the season, Whincup said after surpassing another record book mark. There was plenty of drama out there and you just want to get going and get the new year started. It is nice to come out with two poles and a win and a great reward for the team, who have worked so hard to get all this ready. By JAMES PHELPS Fabian Coulthard celebrates his victory in race two of the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide yesterday, while reigning V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup (inset) wins race one Pictures: ROBERT CIANFLONE and MARK HORSBURGH Firing up the old Volvo jokes wont stop red-hot contender SCOTT McLaughlin started the Clipsal 500 chasing history. Within less than a minute, though, it was a fire extinguisher he was chasing. While he may be the considered the Next Big Thing of V8 Supercars, McLaughlin endured one of the weirdest season starts in recent memory when his car caught fire on the warm-up lap. Earlier this week, the 22year-old was asked how he does the unthinkable in 2015 and dethrones Red Bull juggernaut Jamie Whincup. You have everything right, he said. Every drive. Every tool sitting in your garage. Oh yeah, and every oil pump. That, apparently, was the reason McLaughlins bright blue Volvo had bright orange flames leaping from beneath it only moments after the Supercar season began. Afterwards, the youngster revealed he could tell the car was alight by the immediate change of atmosphere inside, right down to the really bad feeling inside his throat. Its why he bailed. And why I was trying to run and get a fire extinguisher. And usually, this is where we would toss up the Volvo gags. You know What do you call a Volvo at the top of a hill? A miracle. What do you call a Volvo with duel exhausts? A wheelbarrow. And whats the difference between a Volvo and the prin cipals office? Cmon, its always less embarrassing if your friends see you leaving the principals office. Indeed, had this bizarre mechanical failure happened in this same race last year, when the Volvo was making its V8 Supercar debut, there is little doubt McLaughlin would have been laughed all the way back to his garage. But this is year two. And Aussie race fans, theyre on board. Understanding McLaughlin and his ride are a genuine threat to halting Whincup and the greatest dynasty since JR got plugged. Which is why a crowd gathered at the back of the Gary Rogers Motorsport garage as, between races, his team worked overtime to remove one engine and get a second inside. Better, McLaughlins drama occurred in the first of two Saturday sprints where only 75 championship points were on the line each time. Today, theres 150, putting him back in the chase for history. Classic test for McIlroy Ko aims for second title Coetsee in driving seat WORLD No.1 Rory McIlroy admitted he needs to sharpen up with the US Masters only weeks away, as he looked set to miss the cut at the rain-hit US PGA Tours Honda Classic. The 25-year-old found just one birdie with five bogeys in a four-over-par 74. That put him at a sevenover for the tournament, three shots over the projected cut line when darkness halted the second round in Florida. When play was halted for the day, Brendan Steele was atop the leaderboard at eightunder through four holes. Of the Australians, Robert Allenby (69) sits tied for 33rd at one-over and Marc Leishman (69) is a stroke further back. Jim Herman, the surprise first-round leader, didnt tee off until after 5pm because of weather delays. He remained at five-under through three holes. LYDIA Ko has put Clearwater Golf Club to the sword to make herself firm favourite to win a second New Zealand Womens Open title. The world No.1 smashed the course record in her second round yesterday. The 17-yearolds 61 made her 11-under for the day and 13-under for the Christchurch tournament. She is three shots in front of playing partner Charley Hull, of England, who hit an impressive 64. The 18-year-old is the next highest ranked player in the field at 34th. Italian Giulia Sergas and American Beth Allen share third place, and are a further stroke back on nine-under. They will have their hands full catching Ko in todays third and final round. Ko is pursuing a second title in two weeks after victory at the Womens Australian Open. WALLIE Coetsee took a onestroke Joburg Open halfway lead yesterday as overnight pacesetter Nic Henning imploded at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. Camera-shy Coetsee fired a second-round 65 on the easier west course to go with his opening 66 on the longer east track for a 131 two-round total in the two-course tournament. But Henning, who fired a course record-equalling 62 on Thursday over the west course, plummeted to a bogey-riddled 78 and is likely to miss the cut. South Africans Garth Mulroy (68) and Tjaart van der Walt (69) share second place with Englishman Simon Dyson (67) in the European Tour-Sunshine Tour championship. Swede Niclas Fasth (67) and Englishman Anthony Wall (66) are a stroke further back on 133 ahead of the final two rounds. For all the latest news, scores and highlights, visit By NICK WALSHAW