Nancy Knapp Schilke, V8 Supercars Australia Correspondent
”Frosty” earns first win of 2011; celebrates with guest co-driver Lyons
The second race of the V8 Supercars Australia Gold Coast 600 is now in the record books and Mark Winterbottom repeats his 2010 win on the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit in Queensland, Australia. “Frosty” as he is known landed his first win of the year with International guest co-driver Richard Lyons in the No. 5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon.
"That's how I have to race the rest of the year,” said Winterbottom after scoring the first win for Ford in four months. "It's about trying to win races and they're (Whincup) at the front of the championship but he always races hard.”
Jamie Whincup extended his points lead by finishing second after holding the lead in a nose-to-tail battle with Winterbottom. Whincup and his International co-driver, Sebastien Bourdais, won the first race yesterday, which allowed him to regain the points lead.
Third went to Lee Holdsworth and Simon Pagenaud.
The V8 Supercars regular series drivers were again teamed with International motor sports stars for the Gold Coast double races, which adds an extra element for not only the fans but the drivers as well. In both races, the "stars" started the race before handing the V8 Supercars "experts" back their racing machine for the final stint and of course the guest drivers did their best to not damage the racing machines.
With 14 of the 102 laps remaining in today’s race, several of the drivers dived into the pits for fuel and/or tires. Will Davison was the leader and he had built a gap over his two closest challengers: Whincup and Winterbottom. Davison, who shared his Trading Post FPR Falcon with Mika Salo, had his right front “delaminating” and could not risk staying out on track.
The nose-to-tail battle between Whincup (leader) and Winterbottom (second) was very close and at times there was slight contact it was in the hairpin where Whincup appeared to lock up his brakes which opened the door for the Ford driver with eight laps remaining in the race. Once “Frosty” got around the TeamVodafone Holden Commodore, he was able to put space between himself and Whincup. With four laps remaining, Winterbottom had over a 1.5 second lead.
"It was always going to be a hard battle but we weren't going to let it go, this win's important,” said Winterbottom. “We haven't had the best run on that tyre and the guys have worked incredibly hard, to see them from the podium and to see the smiles on their faces - that's a lot of hours in the workshop and they really deserved it.”
Lyons was a last minute replacement for IndyCar driver Will Power and the Irishman said, “I just can't believe how my week has turned around, it's happened so fast. It's been a great opportunity with FPR; it's a team I've always wanted to work with for so long, so I'm really enjoying the moment with the guys.”
Whincup could not be too disappointed as he stretched his lead in the points over his TeamVodafone teammate Craig Lowndes. He now has 143 points more than his rival for the 2011 championship.
Lowndes and Andy Priaulx just had what one would call a bad luck weekend. They started Saturday’s race with electrical gremlins and were in the hunt early in the race and even held the lead but again today, they had gremlins attaching them and
This year, a special award was announced for the top International driver based on the outcome of both races, Bourdais was presented with the Dan Wheldon Memorial Trophy. The French ace said (it was the) “toughest trophy to receive”.