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|