Pukekohe Supercars: Winterbottom wins as teammates collide in Race 3

Mark Winterbottom led every lap in route to his 38th career victory in Race 26 of the season.

Frosty started out from fourth on the grid, but rocketed into the race lead when pole-man Shane van Gisbergen suffered a poor get-go. He dropped to third behind Scott Pye, but quickly moved back into the runner-up spot.

Meanwhile, the No. 1 Prodrive Ford was skipping away at the front of the field. 

In the early going, Scott McLaughlin damaged the nose of the car after getting into the back of Craig Lowndes. Soon after, Lowndes bumped Fabian Coulthard, sending him straight through the grass at Turn 5. Coulthard was able to recover and maintain his position ahead of the Triple Eight machine.

Teammates and title rivals collide

While Winterbottom enjoyed a comfortable lead, the battle for second was heating up. Whincup was on full attack behind his teammate and title rival Van Gisbergen. A third of the way through the race, he dove to the inside at Turn 8. Whincup locked up the rears, sending his car into the right rear of the No. 97. Both spun completely around with SVG settling back into eighth and Whincup 11th. He was then issued a pit lane penalty for the collision, dropping to the very rear. Whincup would only recover to 25th.

"I gave (Whincup) some room, maybe he locked up. I haven't seen it. I've heard he has apologized so that is all good," said local hero Van Gisbergen after the race. Whincup took full responsibility for it and sought out the points leader to formally apologize.

With those two coming together, DJR Team Penske cars were thrusted into the final two spots on the podium, but a full seven seconds back of the lead. Coulthard could not hang on to the third though with Lowndes making a brave move through the final complex of corners. The two drivers made contact several times as the No. 888 pushed his way past. However, Lowndes did not get to keep the position. Van Gisbergen was marching back through the pack and took third from Lowndes with just two laps to go. 

At the checkered flag, Winterbottom held a 10.1 second over Pye, collecting his second win of the year. The teammates of Van Gisbergen and Lowndes followed in third and fourth. Coulthard rounded out the top five. Behind them, it was Chaz Mostert, McLaughlin, Will Davison, Rick Kelly, and Garth Tander.

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About this article
Series Supercars
Event Auckland
Track Pukekohe Park Raceway
Drivers Jamie Whincup , Mark Winterbottom , Shane van Gisbergen
Teams Triple Eight Race Engineering , Tickford Racing
Article type Race report