V8 Supercars | Winterbottom too hot to handle in Perth

2015 V8 Supercars Championship | Third Round – Perth Super Sprint

Article and Images by Rhys Vandersyde

Qualifying + Race 7 and Race 8

With a top temp of 21C/64F, the sun was shining on Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway for Saturday’s V8 Supercars action. Tyre conservation would be key talking point throughout the day, with Perth’s infamous sand and abrasive track surface being a big factor.

While the short sprint races on today’s schedule wouldn’t require pit stops for tyres, keeping life in the tyres for use on Sunday would be required.

Qualifying for Race 7

The first 10 minute qualifying session of the day was the first chance for drivers to run the brand new Dunlop tyres. The entire field darted out of pit lane at the beginning session so they could assess the conditions and make some quick adjustments before laying down a fast lap time.

Traffic was a factor towards the end of the session which caught out Lee Holdsworth (Walkinshaw Racing) and James Moffat (Nissan Motorsport) who jumped out of pit lane early. Due to the tight short Barbagallo track, both drivers had to abort their fast laps as they caught drivers just exiting pit lane.

By the end of the session however, it was the Pepsi Max Crew duo who locked out the front row. Chaz Mostert in the number six Ford FGX Falcon, claimed his first career pole position, with Mark Winterbottom close behind.

Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Australia) will be out to claim in 100th race win from third on the grid.

Qualifying for Race 8

After a short 15 minute break, the second 10 minute qualifying session started. Most teams elected to leave their pit garages late to conserve tyres in the hope of making the most out of a short dash at the end of the session.

With three minutes left in the session, there was a flurry of activity to get out on to the track and set a fast time, while again trying not to get caught up in the traffic.

Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew) made the most of the session qualifying on pole. Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Racing Australia) made up for his earlier abysmal qualifying result to claim a front row start. Fabian Coulthard (Freightliner Racing) showed great pace and will start race eight from third position on the grid.

Images by Rhys Vandersyde

Race 7

With the clouds rolling in and the crowd lining the fences around the circuit, the grid was set for the first short sharp sprint race of the weekend.

Launching off the front row was Mark Winterbottom who jumped his teammate, Chaz Mostert to take the early lead. Craig Lowndes had to fend off an early challenge by Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander as he settled into third.

By the midway point of the race, Tander struck trouble when he suffered a suspension failure ending his race early leaving the podium placed drivers clear of the rest of the field.

Down the back of the field, championship leader Jamie Whincup was fighting his way through the pack as he tried to try minimise the damage to his points lead.

Winterbottom held onto his lead, taking out the win from Mostert making it a Ford one and two. Lowndes finished a clear third and the best of the Holden’s.

The best of the other manufactures was Will Davison in his Erebus Motorsport Mercedes E63 AMG, in seventh while Scott McLaughlin was the best of the Volvo S60’s in eleventh, narrowly beating out the Nissan Alitma’s of Todd Kelly (12th) and James Moffat (13th).

Race 8

Repeating his excellent start from the first race of the weekend, Winterbottom again launched himself into an early lead with Red Bull Racing’s Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes settled into second and third.

The fight was on further down the field with Fabian Coulthard and Chaz Mostert charging their way back through the field. Coulthard had a poor start, leaving plenty of ground to make up.

Scott McLaughlin’s run of bad luck continued, pulling into the pits on lap 11 suffering a throttle issue in the Volvo S60.

Team Darrell Lea’s Shane Van Gisbergen found the sand over the back of the circuit late in the race, tumbling him down to the back of the field.

Winterbottom was unable to be matched out in front, putting a three second buffer to win in his Ford FGX Falcon. Both driving Holden Commodore’s, Whincup fended off a late charge by Coulthard to take out second.

The best of the other manufacturers was Rick Kelly (Jack Daniels Racing) in his Nissan Altima, finishing eighth. Right behind Kelly was the Mercedes E63 AMG of Will Davison (Erebus Motorsport). David Wall was the last remaining of the Volvo’s finishing the race in 22nd.

V8 Supercars action continues tomorrow in Perth with qualifying and the final 83 lap race of the weekend.

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