The third race of the weekend for the V8 Supercars was a masterful display of what the series is all about.
Race three at Auckland started off the same as the previous two with the 2nd place starter (in this case Jamie Whincup), getting the jump into turn one. This is where things change though. With Jason Bright nose-first in the tires and a safety car imminent, Scotty McLaughlin gave it some jandal and muscled his way back by Whincup before the track was placed under a full-course yellow.
On the restart, Jamie focused on the Kiwi ahead of him when he should actually have been watching the one behind him. Shane Van Gisbergen pulled off a risky pass on the five-time champion as the New Zealand crowd went berserk. It then morphed into a battle between two aggressive, hot-headed, hungry, and highly talented Kiwis.
Van Gisbergen and McLaughlin went at it for a while before Shane finally got a nose under him on the eighth lap of the race. Scotty tried a cross-over move in desperation but to no avail. As Van Gisbergen drove away, McLaughlin was left to fend off the snarling pack of cars nipping at his rear bumper.
Oh, and while all this was happening, Craig Lowndes felt the need to go play in the dirt, which looked like fun, but didn't help his race any. Also, he kind of mowed down a couple foam ITM signs in the process....
Race two winner Mark Winnterbottom made his way by the Volvo of Scott McLaughlin with just under ten laps to go, but Scott may have bought his fellow Kiwi just enough time to hold on to the win. Frosty went full-attack as he faced a margin of over four seconds and proceeded to set blistering fast lap times that quickly cut the gap down.
By the time the white flag flew, he was within half a second of the lead and ready to pounce. Winterbottom almost got to the rear bumper of the leading Holden but was forced to settle for 2nd in the end. The complete top ten was Van Gisbergen, Winterbotom, McLaughlin, Whincup, Tander, Reynolds, Percat, Moffat, Pye, and Lowndes.
Mark Winterbottom has taken over the championship points lead as the series prepares for the final race of the weekend tomorrow; which will also decide the winner of the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy.