Supergp could decide V8 crown
CHANGES made to this weekend's Gold Coast V8 Supercars program due to the A1GP no-show could decide the 2009 championship, according to series leader Jamie Whincup.
V8 teams were forced to hastily re-think their plans just days before the Gold Coast round after a doubling of their races to fill the void left by the A1GP series' embarrassing withdrawal due to a financial crisis.
Instead of two 200km races, the V8s will now stage four 150km events on the tourist strip.
The A1GP debacle has already claimed one scalp - the SuperGP Gold Coast event's chairman Terry Mackenroth says he will resign, and the fate of Sports Minister Phil Reeves is still in doubt.
But Whincup believes the fallout will spill over into the V8 championship.
The Ford driver said two extra races gave Holden's Will Davison two more chances to overtake him in the points.
Davison cut Whincup's championship lead to just 93 points heading into the Gold Coast round after winning the Bathurst 1000 with Holden teammate Garth Tander.
“Just two races would have been good. This is more opportunity for me to lose my lead,” Whincup said in Brisbane yesterday.
“This weekend is genuinely the turning point.
“The winner of the Gold Coast usually goes on to win the championship, so it's massively important.”
Holden veteran Russell Ingall said all the pressure was on Whincup following the program change.
“Davison is probably going to be looking at it now thinking 'this gives me a pretty good chance of closing the championship gap',” he said.
“Definitely Holden looks a lot more capable of winning the championship now than they did a week ago.
“I reckon there will be a few nervous people around the Triple Eight camp (of Whincup).”
While there are a total of four rounds left this season, Ingall agreed that the championship could be determined on the Gold Coast.
“I reckon this will be the decider. Whoever comes out of this meeting on top will probably win the championship,” he said.
Complicating matters further were fears that Melbourne-based teams already travelling to the Gold Coast might be caught short equipment-wise.