National

Whincup dominates at Townsville Supercars

By AAP Newswire

There's no place like home but when it comes to Supercars champion Jamie Whincup, Townsville is pretty close.

Whincup stormed to his third victory of 2018 at the Reid Park circuit on Saturday, reigniting his championship defence and making it 10 wins from 20 starts in north Queensland.

No other driver has won more than three races at Townsville since the championship started visiting in 2009.

"All I can say is I love the event, love the people up here and we always seem to dig a little bit deeper when we come to Townsville," the Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver said.

Whincup's first victory since the opening race of the Tasmania SuperSprint in early April lifts him to fourth on the championship standings.

Ford's Scott McLaughlin, who finished third, retains the lead on 1904 points ahead of Shane Van Gisbergen on 1752.

Van Gisbergen finished second on Saturday to claim Red Bull's first one-two finish of 2018.

Whincup said he wasn't bothered about championship talk only midway through the season but did admit it was a relief to get back into the winner's circle.

"It's good to get back on the top step," he said.

"It's been a few months."

McLaughlin, who earlier in the day claimed his eighth pole position of the season, admitted he didn't have the speed to match the two Red Bulls.

"We were sort of the best of the rest today," the DJR Team Penske driver said.

"Obviously Jamie from the start was very fast and the grip he had from the get-go was pretty impressive.

"We've got a little bit of work to do tonight but overall, we got pole, we had a fast car, we just need to work on a few things in the race car and come back strong tomorrow."

Holden veteran Craig Lowndes finished fourth, a day after announcing he will step down from full-time racing at the end of the year.

He drops to fifth on the championship ladder with 1482 points, while Whincup is on 1492.

Bathurst champion David Reynolds (1544) remains third on the ladder after finishing seventh.

The Townsville 400 wraps up on Sunday with another 200km race.