Stone Brothers Racing's Mark Winterbottom has grabbed yet another round title in the sixth and final round of the 2003 Konica V8 Supercar Series held at Mallala Motorsport Park this weekend. In his debut season in a V8 Supercar with the level one...
Stone Brothers Racing's Mark Winterbottom has grabbed yet another round title in the sixth and final round of the 2003 Konica V8 Supercar Series held at Mallala Motorsport Park this weekend. In his debut season in a V8 Supercar with the level one Championship team Stone Brothers Racing, Winterbottom topped off what has been a very successful year with the round win confirming the Championship title in the process.
Winterbottom finished on top in all three races of the day, making his way up twenty positions in the full reverse grid race two to win after starting from position twenty-one and convincingly taking third race honours ahead of Gulf Western Oil's Matthew White and Hydraulink Racing's Mark Porter. The three drivers conveniently finished in the same order as they stood for the overall 2003 Championship.
Winterbottom finished off the Konica V8 Supercar Series claiming five pole positions, four of which were in a row, four round wins and eight race wins - an impressive record for a driver in his first ever V8 Supercar season.
"It can't get more enjoyable than three race wins," the 22-year-old from the Gold Coast said. "We had speed all weekend and with the Championship all wrapped up it was easier to take more risks in the reverse grid race than usual.
"It was a great effort to finish the season on a high and I am going to dedicate the win to Howard Marsden who recently passed away with cancer. He got me through Karts and to where I am today, so without his assistance I don't think I would be standing where I am today."
The day did not however run as smoothly for some other drivers. Smiths Truck's Owen Kelly's run for third position overall for the 2003 Championship was put to a holt in race one, after he was shunted early in the race by Super Cheap Auto Racing's Luke Youlden. Youlden finished the race in second position but was soon relegated to nineteenth after a steward's inquiry imposed a 19-second penalty for the incident.
Kelly's misfortune continued towards the end of the first race when he was tapped off the track by Holden Young Lion's driver Tony D'Alberto and slammed the Smith Trucks Commodore VT into the wall before turn one ending the any chances to participate in the remainder of the day.
Winterbottom went onto win the first race five seconds ahead of Gulf Western Oil's Matthew White, who suffered throttle difficulties that resulted in the engine cutting out randomly, and Brad Jones Racing's Andrew Jones.
Jones' good luck from the last round at Winton Motor Raceway earlier this month and his third position in race one was put to an abrupt holt in both race two, when mechanical difficulties put a stop to their Konica campaign ending their run on only the second lap. The third race was more impressive for the Albury-based driver, finishing fourth behind the top three Championship drivers.
The tight Mallala circuit had taken its toll by the third and final race. Kelly, Actron Air's Kevin Mundy and local South Australian team 3M's Peter Gazzard all failed to take the grid for the start of the last race. Youlden's Falcon AU managed to recover from an incident that put him out of the second race, and started the race from pit lane.
Dick Johnson Racing's Warren Luff's first appearance in the Konica V8 Supercar Series also proved impressive after the weekend, finishing the round just out of the top three in fourth position. The three races today giving him valuable track time for the upcoming V8 Supercar endurance events at the Betta Electrical 500 Sandown and the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst, where he will be co-driving with Shell Helix Racing's Steven Johnson.
The Konica V8 Supercar Series will hold the Konica V8 Supercar Challenge at the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst on October 9-12 in what will be a non-championship event for the category.