Ford Performance Racing pilot Mark Winterbottom has got one hand firmly planted on the V8 Supercar silverware after sweeping the field in the last two races at Queensland Raceway in yesterdays City of Ipswich 400. The day before he managed to...
Ford Performance Racing pilot Mark Winterbottom has got one hand firmly planted on the V8 Supercar silverware after sweeping the field in the last two races at Queensland Raceway in yesterdays City of Ipswich 400.
The day before he managed to grab second behind fellow Ford driver James Courtney, who won his first race since replacing Marcos Ambrose at the Stone Bros Racing outfit, giving them their first win since the final round in 2005.
Winterbottom didn't look back after taking the chequered flag in race two on Sunday morning. He got off the line ahead of Courtney and remained at the front of the field before pitting for the mandatory tyre stop. As he rolled down pit lane he knew that his team gave him the edge as he joined the field in 7th. It was only a matter of time before the front runners also pitted, leaving Winterbottom to slip back into the lead which he held for the remainder of the race.
The weekend saw some of the big budget teams and drivers falter, including Craig Lowdnes who suffered engine problems during the Saturday race, eventually dropping him back through the field to last by the time the chequered flag came out. In the second race the Team Vodafone driver got tangled up with Jason Bright in the Britek Ford at Turn 3 and ended in the sand trap.
This caused a domino effect with Bright collecting team mate Marcus Marshall in the Irwin Racing Ford. Team Kiwi driver Kayne Scott and Andrew Jones in the BOC Commodore caused further mayhem and ended their race in the garage.
Ford's Rising Star driver Michael Patrizi all but escaped the carnage and held on to finish the race.
Holding onto 4th place in the championship, HSV Dealer Team driver Rick Kelly had a weekend he would rather forget when he failed to finish race two after clashing with Holden Racing Team driver Mark Skaife and Winterbottom's partner, Steven Richards. Kelly ended up hitting the wall between Turns 1 and 2, almost demolishing his Holden. His team performed a miracle to get him back for race three, which saw him claw back a few vital points in the final race.
Apart from Winterbottom being the star of the weekend veteran Russell Ingall in the Super Cheap Auto Holden Commodore wasn't too far behind him. The former Ford driver finished 3rd in race one then backed it up with a 2nd in race two and repeated this in race three. If anyone was going to spoil Winterbottom's weekend it was the 2005 champion, who has settled in at Paul Morris Motorsport this year, giving the team some lost respect, after Morris was polled last year as one of the most over rated drivers. Known as "The Enforcer" Ingall
played well above his weight over the weekend, leaving the big named Holden drivers in his wake, earning a well deserved spot on the podium.
Winterbottom's wins takes him to 1694 points with last years champion Garth Tander on 1572 and Team Vodafone driver Jamie Whincup back in 3rd on 1486.