Orrcon Racing driver Jason Bargwanna is back inside the top ten of the V8 Supercar Championship after being in the thick of the action throughout round seven at Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria today. After recording his best qualifying effort...
Orrcon Racing driver Jason Bargwanna is back inside the top ten of the V8 Supercar Championship after being in the thick of the action throughout round seven at Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria today.
After recording his best qualifying effort for the year Bargwanna started the 100-lap race from eighth position with his Orrcon Racing team mate Mark Winterbottom several rows further back in 16th.
Melbounre based Bargwanna made a good start steering his Larkham Motor Sport prepared BA Falcon to seventh exiting the opening turn while Winterbottom also elevated himself several positions.
During the early laps Bargwanna was battling with defending Champion Marcos Ambrose when the pair touched sending Bargwanna into a spin and down the order.
Rejoining the circuit outside the top 20 Bargwanna was determined to recover and reward the efforts of the team with a good result.
Racing nose to tail Bargwanna and Winterbottom charged inside the top twenty before Winterbottom slid off the circuit on lap 33 bringing about the second safety car period of the race.
"I got on the brakes and clipped the white line that was extremely slippery," said Winterbottom.
"When I spin I clipped the wall slightly which bent the watts linkage and made the car a bit of handful to drive."
Throughout the event Bargwanna climbed up the order to be running as high as fifth prior to his second compulsory pit stop when the team refueled the car on lap 54. He returned to the track in 21st position.
With 20-laps remaining Bargwanna was in 12th and showing pace and a strategy that was looking promising for the closing stages of the event.
When John Bowe ran wide during the final turn on lap 86 dragging water and mud onto the circuit catching many of the front running cars out, including Bargwanna who was forced off the circuit and no option but to continue down pit lane at the reduced speed limit dropping down the order to 17th.
"I got to the corner and turned in as per every lap and the car just went straight on from the water left by someone earlier, I didn't see anything on the track" said Bargwanna.
"There were a few cars pointing in different directions and I was forced through the sand, I simply keep my boot into it and get through the sand which then into the pits as I couldn't get back on the track."
Over the final few laps Bargwanna recovered to elevate himself up the order to finish inside the top 15. His finish today also moved Bargwanna back inside the top ten in the Championship standings.
"Yesterday was extremely pleasing to be right up the front of the field setting the second fastest time during qualifying," said Bargwanna
"The car was very consistent throughout the race, it is just a shame we got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time so early in the race with Marcos and then with the water later, it was really the one that got away."
Winterbottom also fought back over the latter stages to cross the line in 25th.
"I got a good start and was settling into a good groove but just caught out by a wet spot which speared me off the track," said Winterbottom.
"The car was a bit of a handful to drive and I was also trying to keep out of the way of the leading cars as I was a couple of laps down. In the end it was a case of focusing on gaining points towards the Championship."
Cameron McConville made a last corner pass on Rick Kelly to claim the victory. Third across the line was Jason Bright who now takes over the Championship lead on 1131 points. Steve Richards is second five points behind with Rick Kellly third on 1110. Bargwanna is 10th on 652 points with Winterbottom a mere 90 points behind in 21st.
Orrcon Racing endurance driver Matthew Halliday was also competing this weekend at Winton in the Carrera Cup Series where he was on track for a podium finish before running off the circuit with one lap remaining in the final race. The New Zealander finished fifth overall for the round.
The next round of the V8 Supercar Championship will be held at Sydney's Oran Park on August 13-15.