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The 2008 Gulf Air Desert 400 was the twelfth round of the 2008 V8 Supercar season. It was held on the weekend of the 6 to 8 November at the Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain.

Qualifying

Qualifying was held on Friday 7 November 2008.

Race 1

Race 1 was held on Friday 7 November 2008. Whincup leapt away while a fierce dice erupted between Lowndes, Todd Kelly and Tander. A forceful move on the second lap saw Kelly muscle his way past Lowndes and Tander. Steven Johnson slipped into third behind Kelly as Tander and Lowndes were slow away from the hairpin. Further back in the pack a tangle saw Michael Patrizi and Mark Skaife spun backwards, also tangling with Michael Caruso, Jason Richards and Andrew Thompson, bringing out the safety car. Skaife, Richards and Patrizi had too much damage to continue.

At the restart Steven Johnson clawed into second briefly before dropping back behind Kelly again. Lowndes took third from Johnson. Lap 9 saw Whincup, Kelly, James Courtney and Russell Ingall to put of the front runners. The following lap saw Lowndes, Tander, Will Davison and Mark Winterbottom. A slow stop and exit saw Lowndes leap frog Kelly into second place. Tander moved into fourth ahead of Courtney while Davison pulled over at pit exit, overcome by fumes. Fabian Coulthard spun into the turn 4 sand trap after contact from Jason Bright, for which Bright later was given a drive-through penalty. The resultant safety car triggered Johnson's pit stop from the lead with Rick Kelly and Steven Richards also stopping.

At the restart Whincup, Lowndes and Todd Kelly leapt away while further back in the field on the second lap contact between Tander and Winterbottom saw Tander spun in front of the pack. Tander dropped to the tail of the field while Winterbottom was assigned a drive-through penalty. Coulthard stopped out on the track trying to limp a car home with a punctured front right tyre and Patrizi spun Jack Perkins around.

Paul Morris briefly held fourth on pit stop strategy but soon lost places to Lee Holdsworth, Courtney and team-mate Ingall. Todd Kelly was controversially given a drive-through penalty, taking away his, and the team's, best result of the season, for over-taking the safety car at its second deployment.

Team Vodafone continued on to claim a race 1-2, ahead of Holdsworth, Ingall, Courtney, Johnson, Shane van Gisbergen, Steven Richards, Rick Kelly and Greg Murphy.

Race 2

Race 2 was held on Saturday 8 November 2008. Whincup leap away with Ingall in pursuit ahead of battling pair Courtney and Lowndes with Johnson. Holdsworth overtook Van Gisbergen for sixth.

Paul Dumbrell spun on the second lap after contact with Michael Caruso. Local Bahraini guest driver Fahad Al Musalem stopped with a broken gearbox in the Team Kiwi Ford. Andrew Thompson spun and stopped at turn 1 after the right rear tyre delaminated, triggering a safety car.

At the restart Whincup led from Ingall, Lowndes, Courtney, Holdsworth, Richards, Johnson and Winterbottom. Richards pounced on Holdsworth at turn 1 while further Todd Kelly picked off a few cars including Garth Tander. Van Gisbergen was smoking at the front left corner tyre rubbing after contact Van Gisbergen lost control, hitting Jack Perkins and spinning Rick Kelly. Van Gisbergen later received a drive-through penalty.

A fierce dice between Courtney and Winterbottom saw the Ford Performance Racing driver move into fourth place on lap 23, the following lap Steven Richards got Courtney as well, with Holdsworth and Todd Kelly closing behind. The dice between those three became hard fought with Courtney suffering for tyre grip but still plenty of power with Will Davison joining the fight by lap 26.

Whincup raced on to win from Ingall, Lowndes, Winterbottom, Richards, Todd Kelly, Courtney, Johnson, Morris and Davison.

Race 3

Race 3 was held on Saturday 8 November 2008. Russell Ingall led from the start, fighting with Jamie Whincup for the lead with Lowndes and Winterbottom fighting for third.

Third lap into the first corner and Steven Johnson ran into the back of Todd Kelly, spinning the Jack Daniels Commodore. Will Davison ran into his team-mate Johnson. Jason Bright and Mark Skaife made contact with Skaife then hitting his teammate Garth Tander. Skaife was out on the spot with Tander pitting for a new right rear tyre.

At the restart Ingall again overtook Whincup. Whincup later retook the lead prior to the beginning of the compulsory pit stops.

During the stops Craig Lowndes was able to get the better of Mark Winterbottom for what would become third position. Safety was called for Todd Kelly's expired Commodore, the car stopped on the circuit

Rick Kelly and Cameron McConville made contact and spun while the bunched field at the restart allowed James Courtney to pass Winterbottom, then move into third by taking advantage of a slow-out-of-the-corner Russell Ingall who had just lost second to Lowndes. On lap 25 Courtney pounced on Lowndes and brakes for second. Lap 28 saw Winterbottom take fourth from Ingall.

Whincup pulled clear of Courtney who by race end had to defend from Lowndes. The result saw the first ever 1-2 finish for Team Vodafone. Fifth spot behind Winterbottom was enough for Russell Ingall to claim third for the round, the best Holden driver for the weekend.

Results

Qualifying

Pos No Name Car Team Part 3 Part 2 Part 1
1 88 Australia Jamie Whincup Ford BF Falcon Triple Eight Race Engineering 1:25.0415
2 888 Australia Craig Lowndes Ford BF Falcon Triple Eight Race Engineering 1:25.0624
3 7 Australia Todd Kelly Holden VE Commodore Perkins Engineering 1:25.1556
4 17 Australia Steven Johnson Ford BF Falcon Dick Johnson Racing 1:25.3874
5 1 Australia Garth Tander Holden VE Commodore Holden Racing Team 1:25.4116
6 18 Australia Will Davison Ford BF Falcon Dick Johnson Racing 1:25.4481
7 39 Australia Russell Ingall Holden VE Commodore Paul Morris Motorsport 1:25.4736
8 6 New Zealand Steven Richards Ford BF Falcon Ford Performance Racing 1:25.5114
9 5 Australia Mark Winterbottom Ford BF Falcon Ford Performance Racing 1:25.5967
10 4 Australia James Courtney Ford BF Falcon Stone Brothers Racing 1:25.7556
11 15 Australia Rick Kelly Holden VE Commodore HSV Dealer Team 1:25.5289
12 25 Australia Jason Bright Ford BF Falcon Britek Motorsport 1:25.5405
13 9 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Ford BF Falcon Stone Brothers Racing 1:25.6020
14 33 Australia Lee Holdsworth Holden VE Commodore Garry Rogers Motorsport 1:25.6282
15 16 Australia Paul Dumbrell Holden VE Commodore HSV Dealer Team 1:25.6311
16 2 Australia Mark Skaife Holden VE Commodore Holden Racing Team 1:25.7070
17 111 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard Ford BF Falcon Paul Cruickshank Racing 1:25.7542
18 11 Australia Jack Perkins Holden VE Commodore Perkins Engineering 1:26.0854
19 26 Australia Marcus Marshall Ford BF Falcon Britek Motorsport 1:26.1087
20 777 Australia Michael Patrizi Ford BF Falcon Ford Rising Stars Racing 1:26.3251
21 14 Australia Cameron McConville Holden VE Commodore Brad Jones Racing 1:25.7938
22 34 Australia Michael Caruso Holden VE Commodore Garry Rogers Motorsport 1:25.7999
23 51 New Zealand Greg Murphy Holden VE Commodore Tasman Motorsport 1:25.8425
24 3 New Zealand Jason Richards Holden VE Commodore Tasman Motorsport 1:25.9215
25 67 Australia Paul Morris Holden VE Commodore Paul Morris Motorsport 1:26.0057
26 50 Australia Andrew Thompson Holden VE Commodore Paul Weel Racing 1:26.0388
27 55 Australia Tony D'Alberto Holden VE Commodore Rod Nash Racing 1:26.0600
28 12 Australia Andrew Jones Holden VE Commodore Brad Jones Racing 1:26.0721
29 021 Bahrain Fahad Al Musalam Ford BF Falcon Team Kiwi Racing 1:28.8069

Standings

After round 12 of 14.

Pos No Name Team Points
1 88 Jamie Whincup TeamVodafone 2916
2 5 Mark Winterbottom Ford Performance Racing 2729
3 1 Garth Tander Toll Holden Racing Team 2624
4 888 Craig Lowndes TeamVodafone 2367
5 6 Steven Richards Ford Performance Racing 2178

Support categories

The 2008 Desert 400 of the V8 Supercar Championship had three support categories.

Category Round winner
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Christian Menzel (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup)
DHL Gulf Radical Cup John Stanley (Radical SR8)
Batelco 2000cc Challenge Mustafa Al Khan (Honda Civic)

References

External links

Supercars Championship
Previous race:
2008 The Coffee Club V8 Supercar Challenge
2008 Supercars Championship Next race:
2008 Falken Tasmania Challenge
Previous year:
2007 Desert 400
Desert 400 Next year:
2010 Desert 400