Winterbottom takes his third win of the year Photo credit: Ford Performance Racing

Winterbottom takes his third win of the year Photo credit: Ford Performance Racing

Mark Winterbottom has notched up his third race victory of the 2012 V8 Supercars Championship in an action-packed Race 10 at the Phillip Island 300.

The win puts the Orrcon Steel FPR Ford driver just 10 points behind series leader Jamie Whincup after a late-race smash eliminated the TeamVodafone driver and title rival Will Davison.

“What an awesome race! That was a good early birthday present so long as I get the same tomorrow it will be perfect!” Winterbottom commented.

“The car was perfect and the boys did an amazing job to put us on pole and back it up with a superior car this afternoon.

“If you lead the Championship everyone is chasing you and that's where I want to be, so to be just ten points off Whincup is a huge boost especially if we can do it all again tomorrow.”

SP Tools Racing pilot Shane van Gisbergen fought through from 11th on the grid surviving a high-speed slide before taking second, while his stable-mate Lucky 7 Racing's Tim Slade landed the final podium spot fending off Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander, IRWIN Racing's Lee Holdsworth and Jack Daniel's Racing's Rick Kelly at the end of the 32 lap (140km) race.

Jonathon Webb (Tekno Autsports), Jason Bright (Team BOC), Michael Patrizi (Tekno Autosports) and Steve Owen (V.I.P Petfoods) rounded out the top ten.

Front row starter David Reynolds led the early stages of the race after out-braking pole-sitter and teammate Winterbottom into the first corner, Trouble struck though at his first pit stop when a split fuel hose on his fuel rig prevented him from filling up, dropping the Bottle-O Racing Team driver out of contention.

Running one lap longer than Winterbottom at the pitstops, Davison rejoined ahead of his team-mate, though it only lasted a few laps before Winterbottom got back ahead with a bold move at the Hayshed corner on lap 19, after the pair duelled through several high-speed corners.

A late second Safety Car deployment for geese on the circuit then set-up a five-lap shootout to the finish, which would prove disastrous for both Davison and Whincup. At the restart, Winterbottom pulled a six car length advantage on his teammate Davison, while the charging van Gisbergen on fresher rubber attacked Davison for second. Van Gisbergen had a massive lose through Turn 1 and blocked Davison which let Whincup dive into second and brought Slade and Tander into the melee. Contact with Slade at the high speed turn three then sent Davison out onto the wet grass putting his FPR Ford into an uncontrollable state. Firing back out onto the track with broken steering, Davison speared into Whincup in a high impact contact which put both drivers out of the race.

It was also a tough day for Whincup's team-mate Craig Lowndes, who recovered from 24th to finish 13th after a drive-through penalty midrace for knocking Bright off the road at Turn 4.

The first of the race's two Safety Car interventions came after an incident on the opening lap left sent Alexandre Premat into the wall, stranding the Fujitsu Racing GRM Holden on the circuit with heavy rear-end damage.

Tomorrow's race is a longer, 200km sprint around the Phillip Island circuit.

Race 10 result:

1 Mark   Winterbottom Orrcon   Steel FPR Ford Ford   Falcon FG 32 55:50.2117
2 Shane Van   Gisbergen SP Tools   Racing Ford   Falcon FG 32 55:56.6011
3 Tim Slade Lucky 7   Racing Ford   Falcon FG 32 55:58.7826
4 Garth   Tander Holden   Racing Team Holden   Commodore VE2 32 55:58.8813
5 Lee   Holdsworth Irwin   Racing Ford   Falcon FG 32 55:59.1994
6 Rick   Kelly Jack   Daniel's Racing Holden   Commodore VE2 32 55:59.5815
7 Jonathon   Webb Tekno   Autosports Holden   Commodore VE2 32 56:00.8207
8 Jason   Bright Team BOC Holden   Commodore VE2 32 56:01.0360
9 Michael   Patrizi Tekno   Autosports Holden   Commodore VE2 32 56:01.5036
10 Steve   Owen VIP   Petfoods Ford   Falcon FG 32 56:04.6353
11 Russell   Ingall Supercheap Auto Racing Holden   Commodore VE2 32 56:05.1670
12 Todd   Kelly Jack   Daniel's Racing Holden   Commodore VE2 32 56:05.7651
13 Craig   Lowndes TeamVodafone Holden   Commodore VE2 32 56:05.9541
14 Tony   D'Alberto Team   Hiflex Ford   Falcon FG 32 56:06.5840
15 David   Wall Wilson   Security Racing Holden   Commodore VE2 32 56:07.8323
16 Karl   Reindler Fair   Dinkum Sheds Racing Holden   Commodore VE2 32 56:07.9875
17 Dean   Fiore Jim Beam   Racing Ford   Falcon FG 32 56:08.4645
18 James   Courtney Holden   Racing Team Holden   Commodore VE2 32 56:08.7102
19 Steven   Johnson Jim Beam   Racing Ford   Falcon FG 32 56:10.0649
20 Taz   Douglas Team   iSelect Holden   Commodore VE2 32 56:12.6382
21 David   Reynolds The   Bottle-O Racing Team Ford   Falcon FG 32 56:19.2988
22 Fabian   Coulthard Lockwood   Racing Holden   Commodore VE2 32 56:19.3377
23 Michael   Caruso Fujitsu   Racing GRM Holden   Commodore VE2 31 56:14.0205
24 Greg   Murphy Pepsi Max   Crew Holden   Commodore VE2 29 56:09.1013
DNF Will   Davison Trading   Post FPR Ford Ford   Falcon FG 28 49:33.0781
DNF Jamie   Whincup TeamVodafone Holden   Commodore VE2 28 49:33.6198
DNF James   Moffat Team   Norton DJR Ford   Falcon FG 10 19:05.3119
DNF Alexandre   Premat Fujitsu   Racing GRM Holden   Commodore VE2 1 1:47.6263