TOP THREE A CLASS APART AT INDY

Mark Winterbottom and V8 Supercar Championship Series rivals Jamie Whincup and Garth Tander were untouchable around Surfers Paradise this weekend.

The three racers consistently lapped in the 1m50s, the only cars to do so, and streaked ahead of the pack to finish 11 seconds clear with Ford Performance Racing's drivers claiming fastest lap in all three Gold Coast races.

In the end qualifying fourth prevented Frosty from leap-frogging Tander and Whincup on the narrow street circuit and he finished all three races and the round in third place in the Orrcon Steel Ford Credit FPR Falcon.

Team-mate Steve Richards had to contend with a dicey attack from Cameron McConville on lap one of race two that saw him drop four places. The battle-scarred Castrol FPR Falcon crossed the line in 12th and a great pit stop in race three saw him make gains to finish eighth.

Round 12 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series will be at Bahrain on November 6 -- 8.

Mark Winterbottom

Orrcon Steel Ford Credit FPR Falcon

"It's frustrating because you've got a quicker car and normally you soldier through. Every track is unique though and qualifying is important here; I can't blame anyone but myself for not putting it on pole.

"It was good racing; three guys in championship contention who don't want to throw points away. There were times when Jamie was on the wall and Garth was on the wall. From the outside it may have looked like we're following the leader but when you've got spongy brakes or wrecked tyres, not making a mistake in those conditions for 27 laps is very tough."

Steve Richards

Castrol FPR Falcon

"The car was a heap better in that last race but I was just stuck behind a load of cars; buried in traffic. We had a good pit stop; when they'd all worked out we had a big improvement."

Tim Edwards

Team Principal

"It was not the result we were looking for today but it's still a great result for Mark and we definitely had the car speed with both cars. Unfortunately our qualifying position dictated our race result and we've lost our championship lead in the team points so we've certainly made it harder for ourselves.

"We've got to go away and understand why we didn't qualify so well and make sure we don't make the same mistakes again.

"On a more positive note, we'd like to congratulate Ford on taking out the 2008 championship; what a fantastic result to win with still three rounds to go."

-credit: fpr