Will Davison leads home FPR 1-2 in Tasmania Photo credit: Ford Performance Racing

Will Davison leads home FPR 1-2 in Tasmania Photo credit: Ford Performance Racing

Series leader Will Davison has won the opening race of the Tasmania Challenge at Symmons Plains Raceway, leading home team-mate Mark Winterbottom for a second Ford Performance Racing One-Two of the season.

Davison clinched his second V8 Supercars Championship race win in succession after victory in the Adelaide Clipsal 500, extending his title lead over defending champion Jamie Whincup to 39 points.

“It is amazing to win again so early in the season and it gives me a great feeling inside and keeps the momentum going within the team that we've been building,” said Davison.

“It has been a great day for FPR with a 1-2 in qualifying and a 1-2 in the race so we couldn't be happier.

“The start today was extremely important and that made the difference. It was a close race with Frosty as he closed on me after his pit stop. It was also a tricky race given how close we were but we came away with the perfect result for the team. We just need to stay calm and stay true to what we are doing for the rest of the season.”

Winterbottom had qualified on pole but was jumped at the start by Davison, before then losing out in the battle for second with Whincup – the TeamVodafone Commodore passing the Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon driver after the FPR pilot ran wide coming into the notorious Symmons Plains hairpin with the pair rubbing panels on the back straight.

On lap 23, just prior to the first round of pit-stops, Winterbottom pounced for second as Whincup slipped wide at Turn 7, before closing the gap on Trading Post FPR driver Davison, whose pit-stop was hampered by a minor problem with the left rear gun.

Over the remaining laps, the FPR Falcons raced nose-to-tail with Winterbottom never more than a second adrift of his team-mate, but unable to find a way through. At the flag, the pair were a full 8.5s clear of third-placed Whincup, the first Holden across the line.

SP Tools Racing's Shane Van Gisbergen and TeamVodafone's Craig Lowndes rounded out the top 5, with Lowndes, having to pass David Reynolds twice during the race after being jumped by The Bottle-O Racing Team driver in the pitstops.

Reynolds, Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team), Tim Slade (Lucky 7 Racing), Lee Holdsworth (IRWIN Racing) and Todd Kelly (Jack Daniels Racing) rounded out the top 10.

It was another difficult day for 2010 champion James Courtney (Holden Racing Team). He and Rick Kelly (Jack Daniels Racing) clashed on the first lap at Turn 6 and the duo spun to the rear of the field. Both recovered, finishing 18th and 19th respectively, though the incident will be investigated by Race Control post-race.

Practice pace-setter Jonathon Webb (Tekno Autosports) also had a torrid time, spearing off three times at the Turn 4 hairpin during the opening laps before retiring with brake problems.

A 20-minute qualifying session will determine the grid for the second and longer race of the Tasmania Challenge tomorrow, with the race to be held over 84 laps (200 kilometres).

Race 3 result:

1 Will Davison Trading Post FPR Ford Ford Falcon FG 59 52:30.5485
2 Mark Winterbottom Orrcon Steel FPR Ford Ford Falcon FG 59 52:31.1880
3 Jamie Whincup TeamVodafone Holden Commodore VE2 59 52:39.6513
4 Shane Van Gisbergen SP Tools Racing Ford Falcon FG 59 52:43.9288
5 Craig Lowndes TeamVodafone Holden Commodore VE2 59 52:44.3273
6 David Reynolds The Bottle-O Racing Team Ford Falcon FG 59 52:49.4116
7 Garth Tander Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore VE2 59 52:50.7661
8 Tim Slade Lucky 7 Racing Ford Falcon FG 59 52:50.9812
9 Lee Holdsworth Irwin Racing Ford Falcon FG 59 52:57.8858
10 Todd Kelly Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore VE2 59 53:01.7111
11 Steven Johnson Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon FG 59 53:07.0791
12 Taz Douglas Team iSelect Holden Commodore VE2 59 53:07.6798
13 Steve Owen VIP Petfoods Ford Falcon FG 59 53:09.6346
14 James Moffat Team Norton DJR Ford Falcon FG 59 53:10.1466
15 Michael Caruso Fujitsu Racing GRM Holden Commodore VE2 59 53:10.9143
16 Fabian Coulthard Lockwood Racing Holden Commodore VE2 59 53:19.3565
17 Alexandre Premat Fujitsu Racing GRM Holden Commodore VE2 59 53:22.3911
18 James Courtney Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore VE2 58 52:33.5453
19 Rick Kelly Jack Daniel's Racing Holden Commodore VE2 58 52:33.7796
20 Michael Patrizi Tekno Autosports Holden Commodore VE2 58 52:33.9415
21 David Russell Pepsi Max Crew Holden Commodore VE2 58 52:45.4633
22 Dean Fiore Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon FG 58 52:51.4591
23 Karl Reindler Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing Holden Commodore VE2 58 53:06.3936
24 Russell Ingall Supercheap Auto Racing Holden Commodore VE2 57 53:25.8055
25 Jason Bright Team BOC Holden Commodore VE2 51 52:53.7854
26 Tony D'Alberto Tony D'Alberto Racing Ford Falcon FG 49 52:36.2309
DNF Jonathon Webb Tekno Autosports Holden Commodore VE2 26 48:22.8355
DNF David Wall Wilson Security Racing Holden Commodore VE2 20 35:58.3393