Mark Winterbottom has scored his first win of the 2012 V8 Supercars Championship edging out Jamie Whincup in a thrilling final race on the streets of Hamilton.
Starting from second on the grid, the Orrcon Steel FPR driver snatched the lead from pole-man Will Davison off the line and led from start to finish, but not before having to hold off a determined charge from his TeamVodafone rival in the last running of the ITM400 Hamilton.
A bad start saw Whincup drop from third to seventh, but he fought his way back up to second after the final round of pit stops, passing team-mate Craig Lowndes for third on lap 26 of 59 and Davison in the Trading Post FPR Falcon four laps later.
Over the last ten laps, Whincup made up three seconds to close right in on the race-leader. The two cars made contact on the last lap, but Whincup was unable to find a way through and Winterbottom held on to win by just 0.7 seconds. Winterbottom’s victory makes it two from two for Ford Performance Racing in Hamilton, after Davison won race one yesterday.
Davison finished third and retains a 21-point lead in the championship over Whincup after six races. Winterbottom is a further 161 points behind in third.
“The car was very good on fresh tyres and I tried to maintain my gap, though the safety car didn't help that,” said Winterbottom.
“Jamie then came on strong and by the last lap it was a close run thing, though I used the big screens at turns one and two to see where he was as my mirrors were folded in so that made it a little easier to defend.
“The team this weekend has ticked another thing off our list. To win both races and run at the front of the field from the start of the weekend is a great achievement. To win the Mark Porter trophy is very special and will be something that I will always cherish.”
Lowndes finished fourth, with Fabian Coulthard the best of the New Zealand drivers finishing in fifth place in the Lockwood Racing Commodore.
Lee Holdsworth (IRWIN Racing) was sixth from David Reynolds (The Bottle-O Racing Team), followed by Tony D'Alberto (Tony D'Alberto Racing) securing his best result of 2012 so far in seventh. Todd Kelly (Jack Daniels Racing) and Shane van Gisbergen (SP Tools Racing) rounded out the top ten.
Steve Owen was the first of the race retirees with front right suspension damage to his V.I.P Petfoods Falcon after he hit the tyre bundle at the chicane on lap 14.
Debris from Garth Tander's Holden Racing Team Commodore then brought out the only safety car of the race on lap 18 after he clipped the Turn 6 apex tyre bundle, trying to overtake D’Alberto as the pair battled for sixth place. Tander finished 26th, 12 laps down, after pitting for repairs.
Michael Caruso finished one spot above Tander after losing eight laps to repair damage to his Fujitsu Racing GRM Commodore following contact from Team Norton DJR's James Moffat.
Several cars received pit lane penalties for excessive kerb-hopping at the turn four chicane with Caruso's team-mate, Alexandre PrÃ©mat the worst offender picking up three penalties and a further post-race 28-second penalty for a fourth indiscretion too late in the race to be brought into the pits.
Jason Bright (Team BOC) and James Courtney (Holden Racing Team) were also given post-race 28-second time penalties for the same offence, the pair ending up 21st and 22nd respectively.
The V8 Supercars Championship now heads back to Australia for the Tradingpost Perth Challenge at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth on 4-6 May.
Race 6 result:
|1||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel FPR Ford||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:26:13.9903|
|2||Jamie Whincup||TeamVodafone||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:26:14.7150|
|3||Will Davison||Trading Post FPR Ford||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:26:27.9419|
|4||Craig Lowndes||TeamVodafone||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:26:37.2485|
|5||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:26:38.3436|
|6||Lee Holdsworth||Irwin Racing||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:26:40.9840|
|7||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:26:51.4202|
|8||Tony D'Alberto||Tony D'Alberto Racing||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:26:56.1418|
|9||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel's Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:27:00.1009|
|10||Shane Van Gisbergen||SP Tools Racing||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:27:04.7151|
|11||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 Racing||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:27:05.6219|
|12||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel's Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:27:07.3240|
|13||Jonathon Webb||Tekno Autosports||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:27:07.4173|
|14||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:27:13.1042|
|15||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:27:13.3620|
|16||Dean Fiore||Jim Beam Racing||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:27:13.5177|
|17||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:27:13.6894|
|18||James Moffat||Team Norton DJR||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:27:25.1527|
|19||Taz Douglas||Team iSelect||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:27:30.5758|
|20||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:27:34.7478|
|21||Jason Bright||Team BOC||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:27:41.1996|
|22||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:27:46.8229|
|23||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||58||01:26:30.2979|
|24||Alexandre Premat||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Holden Commodore VE2||58||01:28:03.7386|
|25||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Holden Commodore VE2||51||01:27:19.3473|
|26||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team||Holden Commodore VE2||47||01:26:31.6680|
|DNF||Michael Patrizi||Tekno Autosports||Holden Commodore VE2||48||01:11:50.1444|
|DNF||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods||Ford Falcon FG||13||19:40.2938|