Mark Winterbottom took a second V8 Supercars race win of the weekend at Winton, triumphing in today’s longer race after early leader Chaz Mostert crashed out.
Starting first and second, the Prodrive Racing Australia pair both opted to start on the hard tyres. That meant they conceded the lead to Craig Lowndes in the first stint, the Triple Eight driver starting on the soft tyre, waiting patiently for the second stint to level things up at the front.
By the half-way point, it was Mostert’s race to lose. The pole-sitter had done everything right for the first stint and a half, working his way back past Lowndes once the two were back on the same tyre, with a green set of softs up his sleeve for the run to the flag.
But on Lap 32 he dropped a rear wheel in the dirt on the run down to turn four, resulting in a high-speed off that left the Prodrive Falcon beached on the tyre wall. With that, his hard work went straight out the window, the odds-on chance for a second win of the weekend gone.
He did, however, get going again. When the car was finally pulled down of the tyre bank, Mostert got straight back into the race – albeit three laps down.
While the crash effectively ended Mostert’s race, it did wonders for Winterbottom. The resulting safety car caused havoc in pitlane, with essentially the entire field pitting to take on the soft tyre.
And while Lowndes emerged in the lead for the re-start, the fact his softs had already done 10 laps in the first part of the race was always going to leave him a sitting duck.
That’s exactly how it played out. Winterbottom took just two laps to relegate Lowndes to second place, and from there simply had to manage the softer rubber to the finish. Not that it was completely straightforward, with Fabian Coulthard putting some decent pressure on late in the day, but in the end Winterbottom was able to do enough to take all 150 points.
Coulthard’s race was remarkably similar. He looked to be on for second place behind Mostert, only for a short-fuelling Winterbottom to jump him in the pits while the safety car was out.
Still, the Kiwi could comfortably follow Winterbottom past Lowndes after the re-start, and was probably the fastest car for the second half of the final stint, although just missing the last little bit of pace required to nab the win from the #5 Falcon.
Lowndes did incredibly well to make his used softs last almost the entire second half of the race, and took the final spot on the podium as a result.
The battle of the race was for fourth place, fought out between Garth Tander, Scott Pye, David Reynolds and Michael Caruso. The foursome spent much of the final stint squabbling over the spot, with Caruso’s stunning pace on the soft tyre proving decisive as he charged through late in the race.
Tander held on to finish fifth, a decent effort given his softs had seven laps from he first stint already on them, while Reynolds held off a late charge from James Courtney of sixth.
Pye wound up eighth, losing seventh to Courtney on the last lap, with Scott McLaughlin ninth and Jamie Whincup 10th.
|25||Chaz Mostert||Ford||+4 Laps|