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Anton de Pasquale wins Race 26, Jamie Whincup and Will Davison clash at beginning

The bitter rivalry between Red Bull and Shell almost resulted in a catastrophic crash at the start of Race 26 of the Supercars season after a drastic move from Jamie Whincup.

After Shell’s Anton de Pasquale got off to a flying start, one that would eventually lead to him winning the race, Whincup made a beeline towards de Pasquale’s Shell teammate Will Davison, driving him towards the fence.

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Whincup’s move allowed both he and Red Bull teammate Shane van Gisbergen to zoom ahead of Davison, with the pair finishing the race fourth and second, respectively.

Following the race, Davison said he was surprised by Whincup’s move and explained why he ‘lifted’ and allowed the Red Bull duo to go ahead.

“Jamie came across pretty aggressively. I didn’t think he’d keep driving at me and lucky I lifted otherwise it would’ve been a pretty big accident,” he said.

“That’s the way it goes. I thought I was going to get through, it was nearly a [crash] but I avoided it luckily.

“I kept it as flat as long as I could, I thought he might eventually concede, but he wasn’t letting go of that spot, so I thought I’d lift. It’s one of those things, it happens. I’m glad I lifted because it would’ve been pretty ugly if I didn’t.”

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Five-time Supercars champion Mark Skaife praised Davison for taking the safe route, saying a different approach could’ve led to a 12-car pile-up.

“Lucky [Davison] was nice to [Whincup], because [Davison] should’ve fed him into the fence,” he said.

“It would’ve been a big accident, there’s no doubt, so what Will did was the safest option.

“[Whincup] gets a really bad start and he moves it over and he’s right over to the fence on the inside.

“If those cars do make contact at that stage, you fire the Red Bull car into the fence on the inside and probably then the chaos unfolds with all the cars behind. So you might have 10 or 12 cars involved in that accident.”

Whincup was left fuming at his start, and explained the thought process behind his move.

“It’s always on at turn one. I didn’t get the best start but I held off the guys from behind to keep in second,” he said.

“I absolutely hated [the race]. It was painful. Anton just disappeared up the road, my teammate made me look silly like five or six laps in, so painfully just got the thing around to try and get some points. We just weren’t quick enough and we didn’t deserve the podium.”

Despite finishing second, van Gisbergen still leads the championship, 349 points ahead of Whincup, while Davison is in third.

There was no movement in the top nine, with de Pasquale still 712 points behind van Gisbergen in sixth spot.

De Pasquale’s win was his fourth in seven races at the Sydney Motorsport Park this season, having also taken out races 20, 22 and 24.

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