STATS INSIDER: MORE CLOSE FINISHES ON ELECTION WEEKENDS

Cam Waters took the first 'round' win of his Supercars career at Winton. Pic: Supplied

IT was a big weekend of numbers across Australia, but if your preferences are going to the pit box over the ballot box, we’ve got you covered in the Winton edition of Stats Insider.

Cam Waters left Winton with most points earned for the weekend, the first time he’d done that on a single-driver weekend.

It was a big weekend stats-wise for the Tickford driver as Waters completed 40,000km of running in Supercars Championship races on lap 1 of Saturday’s Race 13.

In only the second ever ATCC/Supercars Championship race held on the day of an Australian federal election, Waters crossed the line 0.4000-seconds ahead of Shane van Gisbergen – the tightest finishing margin of 2022 so far.

The same duo followed it up in Sunday’s Race 15 with the second closest margin of the season: 0.4422 seconds.

The Race 13 winning margin was the closest at Winton in the Championship since Garth Tander led Jamie Whincup over the finish line in 2007 by 0.3454 seconds.

The closest pole-winning margin in ATCC/Supercars history came in 2010 at Hidden Valley when Alex Davison pipped Jamie Whincup. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

30 MILLIMETRES THE DIFFERENCE
The margins weren’t just close in the races, with the first Sunday morning qualifying session producing a differential of just 0.0006-seconds between Waters and Shane van Gisbergen.

That margin, equating to about 30 millimetres on the track, is the second closest pole margin for any ATCC/Supercars championship event timed to more than one decimal place; all events since 1988 have been timed to more than one decimal place.

The closest of this era is 0.0002-seconds, between Alex Davison and Jamie Whincup at Darwin in 2010.

In a twist of fate, two of the closest four have been recorded on the weekend of an Australian federal election – Steven Richards won pole by 0.0012-seconds at Bathurst on election day in 2004.

The last Winton weekend to happen without an appearance from the Safety Car was in 1999. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

A QUIET WEEKEND TRACKSIDE FOR BERT
Three remarkably clean races at the tight, twisty Winton circuit saw no need for the Safety Car.

It marked the first time the Safety Car boards and flags were not used together for a whole weekend of Supercars racing at Winton since 1999.

Unsurprisingly, Race 13 was the fastest Supercars Championship race ever held at Winton on an average speed basis at 131.78 kph.

Shane van Gisbergen broke Triple Eight’s victory drought at Winton with a win on Sunday morning. Pic: Supplied

BOGEY TRACK NO MORE: TRIPLE EIGHT’S DROUGHT BREAKING WEEKEND
Shane van Gisbergen’s championship lead increased despite Waters round win – it was 164 at the start of the weekend and 281 by the end.

The net lead increase for SVG was 117, the biggest of the year due to a poor weekend by main championship adversary Anton De Pasquale.

SVG’s consistency clocked up further milestones: After he arrived at podium #149 in a golf cart on Saturday, podium #150 came in Race 15 on Sunday.

van Gisbergen joined Skaife on 41 pole positions on Saturday, equalling Mark Skaife for fifth on the all-time Championship pole list.

van Gisbergen now has 41 poles from 431 qualifying efforts in an era where every race has a qualifying session, while Skaife’s 41 poles came from only 213 qualifying attempts when there was only one pole-winner per round.

Triple Eight ended a dry run of pole positions at Winton, with SVG’s pole for Race 1 being the team’s first at the rural Victoria venue since 2013.

Between Triple Eight’s pole positions, Brad Jones Racing, Walkinshaw Racing, Garry Rogers Motorsport, Tickford Racing, Rod Nash Racing, and DJR Team Penske had all started from P1 at Winton.

Mark Larkham came close to taking an upset victory in the first ATCC/SC race to be held on the same day as a federal election. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

A FIRST FOR A RACE WEEKEND DURING A FEDERAL ELECTION
While Saturday’s race was the second in ATCC/Supercars Championship history to be held on the day of a federal election, it was the first to take place on Australian soil.

The first championship race to be held on election day took place in – ironically – New Zealand at Pukekohe in 2001, the very first points race held outside of Australian soil.

Mark Larkham held the balance of power by remaining on slicks on an increasingly wet track before Greg Murphy overtook him late in the race for a popular Kiwi victory – although a late red flag saw the race initially called with Larkham the winner, until a recount of the lap charts gave the ‘Prince of Pukekohe’ the nod.

And in a final tap of the ballot box to remove the stats stuck to the bottom: Scott Morrison is the first Australian Prime Minister to lose an election on an ATCC/Supercars Championship race weekend.

Winton was the sixth ATCC/Supercars Championship weekend that coincided with a federal election.

The government was returned to power on the previous five occasions: 1974 (Surfers Paradise, Whitlam), 1990 (Phillip Island, Hawke), 1993 (Symmons Plains, Keating), 2001 (Pukekohe, Howard) and 2004 (Bathurst, Howard).