V8 Supercars Championship
WILL Davison has extended his lead in the V8 Supercars Championship with victory in today's fifth race of 2012 on the streets of Hamilton in New Zealand.
The Ford driver started from sixth on the grid and made up ground on a hectic first lap of 59 before seizing the lead from Garth Tander on lap 27 and leading home Jamie Whincup and Tander to take his first V8 Supercar race win on Kiwi soil.
The result now pushes the Tradingpost FPR Falcon driver out to a 30-point advantage in the championship over Whincup.
It's unbelievable, the form this weekend has been amazing
"It's unbelievable, the form this weekend has been amazing," said Davison.
"The Shootout was terrible but apart from that we've been strong. The cars are rockets, I somehow popped out second on the first lap from sixth on the grid!
"We can still improve the car for tomorrow. We were all quick at different stages. It's great to stand on that top step."
Whincup's result was his fifth podium in New Zealand.
"I made a rookie error and stalled in the pits, it was my mistake today," he said.
"It was hard racing with Garth at the end. It was good solid stuff. I respect racing good guys."
Tander's finish was also his fifth Hamilton podium after starting from pole.
"We've got to tune up the car a bit over the race distance," said the HRT pilot.
"We didn't quite have the speed late in the stints but I think I know what we need to do to make it better for tomorrow."
Craig Lowndes finished fourth from Rick Kelly, who clawed his way back from 14th on the grid, while the rest of the top 10 was made up of Steve Owen, James Courtney, Michael Caruso, Fabian Coulthard and Russell Ingall.
Kiwi favourite Shane van Gisbergen started on the front row but contact on the opening lap with David Reynolds pushed his SP Tools Falcon back down the order. He then had to pit to replace a front spoiler and copped a pit lane penalty for too many kerb hops. He finished 22nd.
Mark Winterbottom also had a tough day, a bent steering arm losing him two laps to repair and he ended up 23rd.
Fellow FPR pilot David Reynolds was on target for a career-best fourth but a suspension breakage dropped him out with seven laps to go.
Kiwi fan favourite Greg Murphy had further dramas with his Pepsi Max Crew Commodore and ended up retiring, while Frenchman Alex Premat crashed out to cause the only Safety Car period of the race.
A total of 23 cars finished with 20 on the lead lap.
The teams will return to the circuit tomorrow for another 200-kilometre race, with the Race 6 winner to be awarded the Mark Porter Trophy.