[Photo credit – Stuart Blythe]
|A crowd of 58,977 spectators has enjoyed a hot day and hot racing on the streets of the Gold Coast today for the third and final day of the Armor All Gold Coast 600.
Today’s crowd brings the Event’s total tally to 170,073 fans across the three days, a result Queensland Sport Minister Phil Reeves said was spectacular.
“This Event means jobs, it means tourism, this is too important for the Gold Coast, and with 170,000 odd spectators over three days, that is great for the Gold Coast,” said Minister Reeves.
“The aerial shots from today’s action that are being shown around the world show what the Gold Coast has to offer, and you couldn’t pay for that kind of advertising and the benefits will be ongoing – what a fantastic result.”
Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser echoed the Minister for Sport’s statements.
“There isn’t a spectator that was here today that will go home disappointed, or anyone that would have watched that on television and not hung on right to the last lap, that was competitive racing with the best backdrop in Surfers Paradise and it’s a wonderful thing,” said Fraser.
“No doubt the event has met the mark this year, we will make a formal assessment next year but right now it is firmly in pole position.”
Entertaining the spectators today was the second 300 kilometer, 120 lap battle for V8 Supercar glory on the streets, with reigning Champion Jamie Whincup and co-driver Steve Owen taking the honours after a hard-fought race which culminated in a furious battle for the lead between Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen across the final segment.
Van Gisbergen eventually crossed the line in second, seeing he and co-driver John McIntyre on the second step of the podium while Mark Winterbottom had a determined drive through the field after a mishap during his pit stop, to see he and his co-driver Luke Youlden claim third today.
“That is certainly up there as far as wins, we were a sitting duck there at the end but the car was a long way from yesterday, we reinvited the wheel which is not uncommon in motrsport, a tune up here or a tweak there, a spring change and so on, massive amount of changes last night, and the car was a lot better today,” said Whincup.
“We still used the rear tyres, but it was a fun battle with Shane, we raced hard but fair. That is what it is all about!”
Van Gisbergen was also happy with the battle to the finish although he wasn’t able to stand on the top step.
“It was definitely on at the end there and we were trying pretty hard, Jamie was driving really well, it was a great fight and I am pretty happy with the result, I would have been happy with third but second is better!” said van Gisbergen.
Priaulx was the highest placed international driver, placing tenth with his driving partner Lowndes in the TeamVodafone machine after they placed second in yesterday’s race, receiving a special trophy for his efforts.
Priaulx wasn’t alone in enjoying the weekend’s action, with Castroneves just one of the drivers expressing excitement at the prospect of coming back.
“Yes! It’s like Dancing With The Stars – so much fun. I gotta do it,” said Castroneves when asked if he would come back next year if he could.
The V8 Supercars weren’t the only cars thrilling the crowd today, with a special trip down memory lane arranged for the fans this morning when the infamous 1977 1-2 Bathurst finish of Alan Moffat and Colin Bond was recreated before their eyes.
During their session this morning, the cars did laps for the crowd before the entire field slowed to walking pace, apart from the cars of Moffat and Bond, who continued on at ‘race pace’ to recreate the form finish across the start/finish line.
However it wasn’t exactly as before, with the pair changing it up to see Bond cross the line first.
“This is a fantastic event to be a part of. It was terrific to recreate probably the most memorable moment in my motor racing career,” said Moffat
“It was great to spend time with the drivers from my era.
“The Bathurst Regional City Council and the National Motor Racing Museum must be congratulated for giving up the car for this weekend.
“The last time we went around it was 1-2, this time around it was 2-1, so I guess the score is even between Colin and myself. Who knows…we might have to get together for the decider.”
Also on track today were the Yokahama V8 Utes, the Hertz MINI Challenge pocket rockets and the Genuine Ford Parts Australia Formula Ford Championship.
Taking race wins in the Utes today were Rhys Mc Nally for race two and Grant Johnson for race three, with Chris Pither taking the round honours.
In the MINI Challenge and Formula Ford racing it was Glenn Seton and Chaz Mostert respectively who took the race three spoils, with Paul Stokell and Mostert winning the rounds respectively. Mostert dominated his category with three wins from three races allowing him to extend his championship lead significantly.
The Armor All Gold Coast 600 has taken place across three days October 22-24, and is a partnership between the Queensland Government and V8 Supercars Australia. For more information on the event, please visit www.goldcoast600.com.au
OFFICIAL CROWD FIGURE: 2010 ARMOR ALL GOLD COAST 600
Friday – 50,980
Saturday – 60,116
Sunday – 58,977
TOTAL – 170,073
Race Results: Race 20 V8 Supercar Championship Series –
Armor All Gold Coast 600
1. #1 Team Vodafone – J.Whincup/S.Owen : Holden Commodore VE