V8SC | Winterbottom takes the win at Winton

2015 V8 Supercars Championship | Winton Supersprints – NP300  Navara

Article and Images by Rhys Vandersyde

Qualifying Race 12

The 20 minute qualifying session gave teams the opportunity to make final adjustments before posting a quick time. With a clear track, Fabian Coulthard posted a scintillating lap time that had him at the top of the time sheets.

It was short lived though as Chaz Mostert once again proved unbeatable in his Aussie built Ford Falcon FGX with a time of 1.23.1334.

Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew) and David Reynolds (Bottle-O Racing) followed closely behind in second and third position with Michael Caruso proving his pace yesterday was no fluke in the Nissan Altima to take fourth spot on the grid.

Will Davison saved his best performance to the last minutes of qualifying to qualify in fifth position in the Erebus Motorsport prepared Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.

Race 12

With soft and hard Dunlop tyres on offer, tyre management over the 200 kilometre race with be key to finishing in the top ten.

Lessons learnt from the last race in Perth saw the first seven cars on the grid opt for the harder tyre first with Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Australia) in eight place deciding to roll the dice and take the soft tyre gamble as he chases his 100th V8 Supercars win.

With the race underway, the pace at the front of the field was frantic with Mostert again leading the way into the first corner with Lowndes filling the mirrors of the leading pack to be third by the first corner.

The soft option tyres were the difference with Lowndes significantly closing the gap on the leading Ford pair to take the lead before the end of the second lap.

In an effort to conserve his soft tyres, Lowndes elected to pit early and swap to the hard Dunlop tyre on lap ten.

With the first round of pit stops out of the way, Lowndes continued to lead although Mostert and Coulthard continued to challenge Lowndes for the lead even on the hard tyres.

With the pressure mounting, Lowndes fell to the continual pressure to see Mostert pass him on lap 22 which also allowed Coulthard to pass.

Mostert’s lead would be short lived though darting off the track on lap 32 as he pushed to extend his lead only find the tyre wall at turn three.

With the field under the control of the safety car, teams took the opportunity to pit for the final time and change to the faster soft compound tyres as Mostert’s car was being retrieved and later re-joined the race, albeit three laps down.

Lowndes at the end of the pit stops would again re-emerge as the leader although found it tough work on his older soft compound tyres. With continual challenges from Winterbottom and Coulthard, he again watched the pair overtake him with 23 laps left in the race.

Winterbottom would prove too strong for Coulthard crossing the line in first place with Lowndes holding off a fast finishing Caruso to take the final spot on the podium.

Towards the end Caruso (Nissan Motorsport) ran out of laps to pass to really challenge Lowndes although finished the race in a respectable fourth place. Scott McLaughlin (Wilson Security Racing) fought through his issues to finish ninth in the Volvo S60 while it was a tough day at the office for Ash Walsh in the Mercedes crossing the line in 22nd place.

Images by Rhys Vandersyde

Post-Race Interviews

Winterbottom during the post-race conference seemed happy with his result saying “I tried to save my soft tyres as best I could and found they went off but came back to before the end of the race which really surprised me, in the end an awesome result.”

Coulthard confirmed he did what he could to past Winterbottom and said “It was kind of a rubber band effect; I’d catch him and he’d pull away, I did what I could but my best wasn’t good enough.”

Next Round

Join us for the next round of the V8 Supercars at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway on the 19th of June, 2015.

Championship

Winterbottom leads the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship from Lowndes by a slender 12 points with Coulthard in third a further 74 points behind.

An uncharacteristic weekend for Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Racing Australia) and James Courtney (Holden Racing Team) saw them both tumble down the points table to fourth and fifth respectively.

1 Mark Winterbottom 937
2 Craig Lowndes 925
3 Fabian Coulthard 851
4 James Courtney 810
5 Jamie Whincup 801
6 Garth Tander 734
7 Shane Van Gisbergen 731
8 Chaz Mostert 714
9 David Reynolds 708
10 Rick Kelly 620
11 Todd Kelly 551
12 Jason Bright 537
13 Will Davison 513
14 Michael Caruso 496
15 Nick Percat 479
16 Scott McLaughlin 459
17 Tim Slade 434
18 James Moffat 426
19 Dale Wood 401
20 Lee Holdsworth 394
21 Tim Blanchard 389
22 Andre Heimgartner 370
23 David Wall 333
24 Ashley Walsh 282
25 Scott Pye 263
26 Marcos Ambrose 125

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

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