Members from Red Bull Holden Racing Team Australia Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup on The Strand ahead of the Watpac Townsville 400. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Members from Red Bull Holden Racing Team Australia Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup on The Strand ahead of the Watpac Townsville 400. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Whincup hopes for Reid Park spark

HE'S the undisputed King of Reid Park, but Jamie Whincup admits this weekend's Townsville 400 could be "crunch time" for his hopes of winning a record eighth Supercars crown.

Whincup has an incredible strike rate at what he calls his home event with nine victories, which is almost half of all the races held as the Townsville 400 marks its 10th anniversary.

The Triple Eight star had yet to win a race heading into last year's event, but he drove brilliantly to finish second and first across the weekend which sparked his charge to the Drivers' Championship.

Whincup hopes he can recapture some of that Reid Park magic this weekend after slipping to fifth in this year's series - 433 points behind leader Scott McLaughlin.

The 35-year-old wasn't concerned about his championship hopes, saying he's found a way to claw back from tough positions before, but he admitted he needed to find some success in Townsville.

"I'm a fair way behind now, a lot further behind than I'd like, but that's the way it is. There's no panic stations," Whincup said.

"Is this part of the year about winning the championship? No, it's about winning races and I'd love nothing better than having a good result here this weekend.

"We all know how the mental and human element is involved with sport and when you want it badly, you generally get it. This weekend's no different.

"The car's feeling good, we can tune it in as the weekend goes on, and we can be competitive. That's where you want to be.

"We feel like it's our home event and we want to put in our best performance this weekend so we'll do everything we can to achieve that."

Qualifying has been an issue for both Whincup and team mate Shane Van Gisbergen, but Whincup felt they were in a much stronger position with their ZB Commodores since the last round in Darwin.

"Our race pace has been good, but we've just had to deal with trying to get through the pack to get to the front and we've made it hard for ourselves," Whincup said.

"We changed it up a lot from the test day and ran it all through Darwin and there was certainly some rewards there. It's the first time I've been on the podium for a while.

"We feel like we've got all the tools in the toolbox to do the job here this weekend, it's just a matter of piecing it all together."

FOX SPORTS will show every session from the Townsville 400 LIVE and ad-break free.