Bathurst 1000 under way

Pole sitter Jamie Whincup took a gamble and handed the reins to co-driver Paul Dumbrell for Sunday’s crucial start of the Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama.

Racing began with Dumbrell starting from the front row alongside Ford threat Mark Winterbottom – yet to taste victory on the mountain.

Usually, lead drivers were behind the wheel for the critical race start but Whincup said he had more than enough confidence in Dumbrell to hold his nerve.

“I find it challenging jumping into the car after the race has started so I did not want to put that pressure on Paul at all.

“So with me being a regular driver and knowing the car well, I can jump into the second stint – well that’s the plan anyway.

“We are really lucky that Paul’s times are as quick as mine, so we don’t need to concentrate on Paul doing the minimal amount of laps.

V8 Supercars series leader Whincup and Dumbrell are the defending champions for the 161-lap epic which is expected to be hit by showers later on Sunday.

It also marks Whincup’s Holden teammate and five-time Bathurst champion Craig Lowndes’ 20th Bathurst start and 500th V8 touring car start.

He was set to start from sixth on the 29-car grid but handed the first shift to co-driver Warren Luff.

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