V8SC | Ford’s Mostert and Winterbottom continue to win

2015 V8 Supercars Championship | Winton Supersprints – NP300  Navara

Article and Images by Rhys Vandersyde

Qualifying + Race 10 and Race 11

It was a chilly start to another stunning autumn day at Winton Raceway in rural Victoria, the track warmed quickly with clear skies above. With a big crowd entering the track, they quickly lined the fences as they waited for the V8’s to hit the track for the first of five V8 Supercars sessions today.

Starting the day was a 15 minute practice session, followed by two qualifying sessions that would determine the grid for Races 10 and 11 of the Championship.

Qualifying Race 10

Qualifying started with controversy with a car in the previous support race dumping oil onto the track. With marshals doing their best to clean the track before qualifying, it remained extremely slippery with cars darting off the track in the first couple of minutes.

As a result of the oil, Scott McLaughlin (Volvo/Wilson Security Racing) found himself stuck in a sand trap, stopping the session with a red flag.

With the marshals returning to clean the track, there was only a few minutes left in the session for drivers to clock up their best time. The entire field of V8 Supercars took to the track with 18 cars lapping within a second of the pole setting time.

Chaz Mostert (Pepsi Max Crew) made the most of the conditions in his Ford FGX Falcon to claim pole. Michael Caruso (Nissan Motorsport) was the surprise packet of the session ending qualifying second fastest in his Nissan Altima.

Ford continued their strong performance locking out the second row of the grid with David Reynolds (Bottle-O Racing), third fastest and Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew) fourth.

Qualifying Race 11

With the track well and truly cleaned, it was business as usual for the teams in the second ten minute session. Pit lane quickly emptied with every team taking to the track early in the session. The fastest times wouldn’t be set till the closing minutes with a second covering the top 21 teams.

Ford’s Prodrive Racing Australia continued to be the team to beat with three of the fastest times in the session.

Chaz Mostert was again fastest with Pepsi Max Crew teammate Mark Winterbottom starting alongside in second place. Bottle-O Racing’s David Reynolds was placed third with Nissan’s Rick Kelly (Jack Daniel’s Racing) alongside in fourth.

Race 10

With 75 championship points available to the race winner, Mostert made the most of his pole position clearing the field from the start. Winterbottom also made a sensational start to drive into second place past Reynolds and Caruso before the first turn.

In the middle of the pack, cars hustled for positions with plenty of door to door action that saw McLaughlin’s Volvo lose in a four way tussle for 20th place which sent him to the rear of the field.

Mostert wasn’t challenged once during the race to take the chequered flag with a two second lead over Pepsi Max Crew teammate, Winterbottom. Caruso drove a fantastic race to hold out Reynolds and lead home a strong result for Nissan with three cars in the top seven.

Holden on the other hand had uncharacteristic result with Fabian Coulthard finishing in sixth place in his Freightliner Racing Commodore. Mercedes were way back after their success in Perth with Will Davison (Erebus Motorsport) finishing in thirteenth. Volvo’s run of bad luck continued with David Wall (Wilson Security Racing) the best of the S60’s back in 21st.

Images by Rhys Vandersyde

Race 11

Another cracking start for Winterbottom saw him launch into the lead of Race 11 as Rick Kelly (Jack Daniel’s Racing) followed suit passing pole sitter Mostert before the first turn. Mostert found himself back in the pack and fending off an aggressive David Reynolds during the opening laps.

Holden Racing Team/Walkinshaw Performance had a shocking start with three of their cars coming together in the first turn. The contact ended the race for both Garth Tander and Lee Holdsworth. James Courtney was able to continue electing to pit soon after the accident to swap over to wet weather tyres in an effort to save some good tyres for tomorrow.

As the laps counted down and the sun disappearing behind the trees, Winterbottom fought hard to maintain his lead over Kelly to cross the line in first place with Mostert fending off Reynolds to finish third.

Shane Van Gisbergen in his Darrell Lea STIX Commodore was the best of the Holden drivers finishing in fifth.

Will Davison (Erebus Motorsport) was the best of the Mercedes’ in seventh while McLaughlin in the S60 Volvo drove a brilliant race to finish in ninth to ensure every manufacturer was represented in the top 10.

Post-Race Conference

In the post-race press conference, a victorious Winterbottom added “we’re extremely happy with the win” and even hinted that they have had plenty in reserve “we elected to save some tyres to help put us in a better position for tomorrow race” Winterbottom commented.

Rick Kelly was impressed with his second place and confirmed “we’re not often in this position so we elected to use new tyres to make the most of it, we’ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow”.

V8 Supercars action continues tomorrow at Winton Raceway, with both qualifying and the final 200 kilometre race of the weekend.

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