Mark Winterbottom has won the opening race of the Tradingpost Perth Challenge triple header at the Barbagallo Raceway.
Having survived an opening lap collision that took out team-mate Will Davison and Garth Tander, the Orrcon Steel FPR driver showed impressive pace on both compounds of tyre over the 50 lap race, taking victory by 3.29 seconds over TeamVodafone’s Jamie Whincup.
“It's great to pick up a win here considering how ordinary we were at the track just 12 months ago,” commented Winterbottom.
“The guys did a great job today and to roll out of the truck with the base setup we've had all year and win by over three seconds is really positive.”
It was a disastrous day for pole-sitter Tander – passed in the opening turns by Team BOC's Jason Bright and Whincup, he was then tagged and turned around by The Bottle-O Racing Team's David Reynolds at Turn 7. Unable to take evasive action, Trading Post FPR pilot Davison subsequently collected the stranded Holden Racing Team Commodore putting Tander out of the race. Davison, with front suspension damage pitted for repairs and would eventually finish 25th.
On opposing tyre strategies, Whincup on softs and Winterbottom on the hard compound, the pair found their way past early race leader Bright in the first stint. Winterbottom then pitted on lap 30 switching to softs after losing four seconds to Whincup, but was handed the race lead on a plate after Whincup's Commodore cut out in pit-lane. Whincup rejoined in second, but Winterbottom on the quicker rubber led over the finish line – his second successive V8 Supercars Championship race victory.
Team Vodafone's Craig Lowndes rounded out the podium having carved his way through from 16th on the grid. Lee Holdsworth (IRWIN Racing), James Courtney (Holden Racing Team), Tim Slade (Lucky 7 Racing), Shane van Gisbergen (SP Tools Racing), Michael Caruso (Fujitsu Racing GRM) and Rick Kelly (Jack Daniel's Racing) rounded out the top 10.
The Safety Car made two appearances during the opening six laps, with the second full-course yellow required after Team Norton DJR's James Moffat found himself stranded in the Turn 6 sand trap.
Lockwood Racing's Fabian Coulthard had been in strong contention for a podium place, running in the top five during the first stint but following a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release after minor pitlane contact with Todd Kelly's Jack Daniel's Racing Commodore, he finished 15th.
Steve Owen also joined Moffat and Tander on the retirements' list after smoke was seen coming from the rear of his V.I.P Petfoods Racing Falcon.
The result sees Whincup retake the championship lead with Davison in second, 51 points back and Winterbottom a further 109 points back in third.
Race 7 result:
|1||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel FPR Ford||Ford Falcon FG||50||52:48.8024|
|2||Jamie Whincup||TeamVodafone||Holden Commodore VE2||50||52:52.0885|
|3||Craig Lowndes||TeamVodafone||Holden Commodore VE2||50||53:10.0821|
|4||Lee Holdsworth||Irwin Racing||Ford Falcon FG||50||53:10.4117|
|5||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team||Holden Commodore VE2||50||53:10.8610|
|6||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 Racing||Ford Falcon FG||50||53:11.0680|
|7||Shane Van Gisbergen||SP Tools Racing||Ford Falcon FG||50||53:11.4894|
|8||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Holden Commodore VE2||50||53:11.7320|
|9||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel's Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||50||53:12.2401|
|10||Jason Bright||Team BOC||Holden Commodore VE2||50||53:13.3372|
|11||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||50||53:15.3752|
|12||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew||Holden Commodore VE2||50||53:15.8304|
|13||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Ford Falcon FG||50||53:16.8565|
|14||Jonathon Webb||Tekno Autosports||Holden Commodore VE2||50||53:19.1763|
|15||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||50||53:23.2299|
|16||Dean Fiore||Jim Beam Racing||Ford Falcon FG||50||53:23.3794|
|17||Alexandre Premat||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Holden Commodore VE2||50||53:25.0205|
|18||Michael Patrizi||Tekno Autosports||Holden Commodore VE2||50||53:26.5511|
|19||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing||Ford Falcon FG||50||53:31.7148|
|20||Tony D'Alberto||Tony D'Alberto Racing||Ford Falcon FG||50||53:31.7522|
|21||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel's Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||50||53:32.9340|
|22||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||50||53:35.4451|
|23||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Holden Commodore VE2||49||52:56.9076|
|24||Taz Douglas||Team iSelect||Holden Commodore VE2||49||52:58.4822|
|25||Will Davison||Trading Post FPR Ford||Ford Falcon FG||41||53:43.1700|
|DNF||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods||Ford Falcon FG||26||29:34.6758|
|DNF||James Moffat||Team Norton DJR||Ford Falcon FG||7||12:52.7636|
|DNF||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team||Holden Commodore VE2|