V8SC | Winterbottom and Ford an unstoppable combo

2015 V8 Supercars Championship | Castrol Edge Townsville 400

Article and Images by Rhys Vandersyde

V8 Supercars – Castrol Edge Townsville 400 Sunday -

Townsville welcomed a record crowd to the third and final day of the Castrol Edge Townsville 400 with fantastic weather and the promise of close racing for the third and final day of the V8 Supercars carnival.

Qualifying

David Reynolds (Bottle-O Racing/Prodrive Racing Australia) mentioned to MyDrive “I’ll be using the same set of tyres I used in yesterday’s session in an effort to have a completely new set for the shootout.”

The short session would only allow drivers a couple of attempts to set a fast time however all the action would take place in the last four minutes.

Prodrive Racing Australia proved to be the fastest yet again with Mark Winterbottom placing first (Pepsi Max Crew), Chaz Mostert second (Pepsi Max Crew) and David Reynolds (Bottle-O Racing) third with every manufacturer taking a place in the top ten shootout.

Top 10 Shootout

With just one lap each to set a time to claim pole position, putting together a clean lap together would be the key.

Van Gisbergen was the fastest of the early runners in his Holden Commodore setting a time of 1:13.74 however his would be short lived with fellow kiwi McLaughlin in the Volvo S60 clocking an incredible time of 1:13.41 to take pole position.

It was a tense time for the Volvo outfit with a number of teams still to do their lap. Reynolds, Mostert and Winterbottom failed to beat McLaughlin’s time although Mostert’s time was good enough to start alongside on the front row. Van Gisbergen and Reynolds times saw them slot into the second row of the grid.

Race 17

Repeating the winning strategy from yesterday’s race, the entire field started the race on the softer of the two Dunlop control tyres. This meant the teams would pit stop early to jump to the harder compound to conserve the soft tyre for the finish.

Making the most of his front row start, McLaughlin took the early lead however it was Reynolds who moved into second place before the second turn. It was a chaotic start for the rest of the pack with Nick Percat (Repair Management Australia Racing) grazing the pit lane wall before he had even crossed the start line.

McLaughlin’s lead was short lived with Reynolds and then Mostert passing him easily on successive laps. Nissan’s Michael Caruso was the first car on Lap 9 to enter the pits for the harder compound tyre, with the leaders coming in a lap later.

Fabian Coulthard (Freightliner Racing) received a costly penalty for spinning his tyres during the tyre change taking him out of contention for the rest of the day.

Volvo’s issues sadly continued with the Safety Car coming out to pick up the field when McLaughlin’s S60 started to haemorrhage oil all over the track on Lap 19.

Meanwhile Reynolds, Winterbottom and Mostert controlled the field from the front as the race entered its final phase with teams pitting for the last time for their well-used soft tyres.

Reynolds and Mostert pushed their tyres too hard in the closing stages allowing Winterbottom to take the lead with 20 laps to go. James Courtney and Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team) continued to chase the Ford pair challenging them for the final podium positions.

Winterbottom held on by mere seconds to take the win for Ford as Courtney’s Holden snuck past Mostert and Reynolds for second place. Reynold’s managed to hold off Tander just long enough to claim third.

Todd Kelly (Nissan Motorsport) was the best of the other manufacturers finishing tenth in his Nissan Altima. David Wall (Wilson Security Racing GRM) the best of the S60’s in 22nd and Ashley Walsh (Erebus Motorsport) the best for Mercedes in 23rd.

In the post-race press conference Winterbottom admitted “The car on hard [tyres] wasn’t the best, but the boys did a tweak in the pit stop and it was a rocket after that.”

Championship

With two wins for Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew) across the weekend he received maximum points to retain the championship lead extending his advantage to 248 points over Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Australia) and 260 points over Fabian Coulthard (Freightliner Racing).

1 Mark Winterbottom 1465
2 Craig Lowndes 1217
3 Fabian Coulthard 1205
4 David Reynolds 1192
5 Chaz Mostert 1183
6 James Courtney 1175
7 Garth Tander 1086
8 Jamie Whincup 1074
9 Shane Van Gisbergen 1063
10 Rick Kelly 885
11 Todd Kelly 810
12 Michael Caruso 756
13 Jason Bright 751
14 Tim Slade 743
15 James Moffat 711
16 Will Davison 703
17 Scott McLaughlin 693
18 Nick Percat 683
19 Lee Holdsworth 665
20 Dale Wood 627
21 Scott Pye 575
22 Andre Heimgartner 548
23 Tim Blanchard 536
24 David Wall 525
25 Ashley Walsh 400
26 Marcos Ambrose 125

Next Round

Round 7 of the V8 Supercars Championship continues in three weeks in Ipswich at Queensland Raceway.

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For details on the V8 Supercars Championship, click > www.v8supercars.com.au

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