Surfers Paradise: SuperGP Friday notes

WINTERBOTTOM SETS THE PACE AT NIKON SUPERGP Mark Winterbottom has overcome illness to post the fastest time of the two qualifying sessions this afternoon ahead of tomorrow's top ten shootout at the Nikon SuperGP. Despite battling with a ...

WINTERBOTTOM SETS THE PACE AT NIKON SUPERGP

Mark Winterbottom has overcome illness to post the fastest time of the two qualifying sessions this afternoon ahead of tomorrow's top ten shootout at the Nikon SuperGP.

Despite battling with a glandular illness for the past week, the Ford Performance driver was able to pull out the stops to record a 1m 49.2866s lap around the streets of Surfers Paradise aboard the the Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon.

The result saw Winterbottom come home ahead of reigning Gold Coast winner and V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup and Russell Ingall -- both local Gold Coasters.

The V8 Supercar field will now head to the Top Ten Shootout tomorrow morning at 9am, before taking on two 150km races across the day.

"The speed in the car was good and it felt balanced so I was pretty comfortable, and was able to commit to the corners," said Winterbottom.

"I feel pretty good now so I think putting the car where we did has been a good injection, I didn't feel that great after the first lot but the cool suit failed so I think if we can get the cool suit working tomorrow I should get through the race okay.

"Tomorrow is the shootout, and that will be the challenge: getting the tyre temperature up and getting it done in one lap.

"I am just really glad to get the result today after the boys worked so hard on both of the team's cars to get them to the top ten shootout, and hopefully I can repay them with a result tomorrow."

After today's two legs of qualifying James Courtney, Garth Tander, Will Davison, Paul Dumbrell, Steve Richards, Jason Bright and Craig Lowndes are set to join Winterbottom, Whincup and Ingall in the top ten shootout.

Nikon SuperGP General Manager Greg Hooton confirmed a crowd today of 48,284 - in comparison to last year's Friday crowd of 63,124 - which is a 18% rise on the crowd of yesterday and 23% down on last year's Friday figures.

"All the indicators are there for a very good weekend result," said Hooton.

"The positive feedback we are receiving from the hotels is very encouraging.

"Given the uncertainty of the event, people did not have a great amount of time to sort a four or five-day holiday on the Gold Coast, but the weekend is do-able and I believe that will be reflected in the figures over the next couple of days.

"The crowds loved the V8 Supercars and the Legends today as well as all the other on and off-track activities.

"You can be assured that every one of our team are working around the clock to get us the best possible result and we will not stop until Sunday evening."

Also on track today were the opening races of the Strategic Airlines Formula Ford and the Haymans Electrical Mini Challenge, and the second race of the event for the Aussie Racing Cars as well as plenty of ontrack entertainment to thrill the fans while the cars were in the garages.

In the Strategic Airlines Formula Ford Mitch Evans followed up his top qualifier spot of the day before with a race one win, ahead of second qualifer Richie Stanaway and Scott Pye. Queensland's Paul Stokell took the race one victory aboard his Mini Cooper S ahead of Western Australia's Nathan Caratti and Queensland's John Martin, while in the Aussie Racing Cars Queensland's David Lawrence made it two from two with another race victory following yesterday's race one win, ahead of New South Wales Kyle Clews and Nick Percat.

Tomorrow's action will kick off with on-track entertainment from 8.00am, with the V8 Supercar Top Ten Shootout scheduled for 9am. Also featuring across the morning will be racing from Strategic Airlines Formula Ford, session three of the Pirtek Australian Legends before the first of two 150km V8 Supercar races gets underway at 11.25am. The Haymans Electrical Mini Challenge will then take to the track laong with further ontrack entertainment while the F111 fly overhead and complete a dump and burn before the second V8 Supercar race of the day at 3.15pm.

-credit: supergp.com

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Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Garth Tander , Jason Bright , Russell Ingall , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup , Mark Winterbottom , Paul Dumbrell , Paul Stokell , Steve Richards , John Martin , Nathan Caratti , Nick Percat , Scott Pye , Richie Stanaway , Mitch Evans