Will Davison has stretched his lead in the V8 Supercars Championship with victory in the opening leg of the ITM400 Hamilton in New Zealand.
The Trading Post FPR Falcon driver fought his way from sixth on the grid, beating home defending champion Jamie Whincup and pole-sitter Garth Tander, to take his ninth career win and his first on the streets of Hamilton.
In a hectic first lap, Davison jumped from sixth on the grid to second as the top three starters Tander, Shane van Gisbergen and David Reynolds scrapped it out over the first few turns.
SP Tools Racing's Van Gisbergen took the lead into the first corner but going in too deep, the New Zealander locked-up, copping a bump from Reynolds. Tander then snatched back the lead as Reynolds understeered wide at Turn 2.
Tander headed the field through the first round of pitstops, but the Holden Racing Team pilot was unable to fend off Davison, losing out on lap 27, with the FPR man forging ahead to a four-second lead. That gap soon evaporated when the safety car was called on lap 38 after Fujitsu Racing GRM driver Alexandre Premat crashed into the wall at Turn 7.
Tander piled on the pressure at the restart, but he was reeled in by the charging Whincup making up lost ground after stalling at his first pitstop, and the TeamVodafone driver took second place from Tander inside the final four laps.
“It certainly was tough,” said Davison.
“The first lap was awesome for me. Obviously starting sixth wasn't ideal but I knew we were quicker than that. Getting through the traffic was going to be the tricky thing, but popping out second from sixth was obviously fantastic.
“When we switched to the softs my car came on quite well and I played it smart and looked after the car. I had a good run on Garth (Tander) on the straight and got him into turn 1. I then managed fuel for a little while and kept an eye on the mirror.
“It is great for the team to get another win. A tough day for Frosty and Dave, but I'm sure they'll come back strongly tomorrow.”
Craig Lowndes (TeamVodafone) finished fourth ahead of Rick Kelly (Jack Daniels Racing) who had started from 14th on the grid. Steve Owen (V.I.P Petfoods) took sixth to bank Dick Johnson Racing’s highest finish this year, while James Courtney (Toll Holden Racing) and Michael Caruso (Fujitsu Racing GRM) both made ten places to take seventh and eighth respectively. Fabian Coulthard (Lockwood Racing) and Russell Ingall (Supercheap Auto Racing) rounded out the top-ten.
Reynolds looked set for a career-best fourth but with just seven laps to run, contact with the Turn 4 tyre bundle broke The Bottle-O Racing Falcon's right-front suspension, ending his race. It was also a bad day for team-mate Mark Winterbottom, the Orrcon Steel FPR driver finishing 23rd after losing two laps to fix a bent steering arm.
Local hero van Gisbergen's hopes for the day were dashed after his first lap collisions with Reynolds and then Whincup damaged his steering. He then had to pit to change a front spoiler and collected a pit lane penalty for too many kerb hops, finishing in 22nd.
The second 200-kilometre race takes place tomorrow.
Race 5 result:
|1||Will Davison||Trading Post FPR Ford||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:28:43.7686|
|2||Jamie Whincup||TeamVodafone||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:28:46.2970|
|3||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:28:48.2868|
|4||Craig Lowndes||TeamVodafone||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:28:48.5946|
|5||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel's Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:29:05.0625|
|6||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:29:07.3490|
|7||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:29:08.9542|
|8||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:29:09.2258|
|9||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:29:09.5911|
|10||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:29:09.8352|
|11||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:29:10.6629|
|12||Jason Bright||Team BOC||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:29:14.0679|
|13||Lee Holdsworth||Irwin Racing||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:29:15.8424|
|14||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel's Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:29:16.0700|
|15||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 Racing||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:29:16.3528|
|16||Dean Fiore||Jim Beam Racing||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:29:20.7668|
|17||Michael Patrizi||Tekno Autosports||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:29:23.0576|
|18||Tony D'Alberto||Tony D'Alberto Racing||Ford Falcon FG||59||01:29:35.8822|
|19||Jonathon Webb||Tekno Autosports||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:29:43.3933|
|20||Taz Douglas||Team iSelect||Holden Commodore VE2||59||01:29:47.5404|
|21||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||58||01:29:37.2105|
|22||Shane Van Gisbergen||SP Tools Racing||Ford Falcon FG||58||01:29:59.2571|
|23||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel FPR Ford||Ford Falcon FG||57||01:29:25.2752|
|DNF||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Ford Falcon FG||52||01:19:17.9555|
|DNF||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||39||57:48.2187|
|DNF||Alexandre Premat||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Holden Commodore VE2||36||52:45.7393|
|DNF||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew||Holden Commodore VE2||29||53:06.9176|
|DNF||James Moffat||Team Norton DJR||Ford Falcon FG||17||25:11.0184|