Mark Winterbottom clinched his fourteenth V8 Supercars career win and his second of the 2010 season, taking advantage of good strategy and a small slice of luck en route to victory in the second race of the Sucrogen Townsville 400.
The man nicknamed ‘Frosty’ was running fifth in the opening phase of the street circuit race, but elected to pit earlier than those he was pursuing, and used the clear track to good effect to be in the lead when his rivals completed their first pit stops.
He then went on to eke out a 10-second lead, only to have this nullified when a late Safety Car interruption condensed the pack. However, he managed to survive to win, after holding off the advances of James Courtney.
For Courtney, however, the day did not get off to an auspicious start, with the Race Stewards belatedly deciding to investigate his early-race collision with Jim Beam Racing team-mate Steven Johnson.
That the Stewards decided to look into the matter and rule it as a racing incident – much to the chagrin of the Holden teams, unsurprisingly – is understandable, and one should move on from that point. However, what needs explanation is why the Stewards took so long before deciding to look into it in the first place!
Nevertheless, Courtney’s second-placed finish was well-earned, and he extended his championship lead over Team Vodafone rival Jamie Whincup to 120 points, after polesitter Whincup was forced to pit after just eight laps with a broken brake line – he would eventually finish 23rd to cap off a disastrous event for the team, with team-mate Craig Lowndes retiring after rear-ending, ironically, Courtney, as the two braked to avoid Garth Tander, who had gently understeered into the tyre barriers at Turn 3.
Under a flurry of yellow flags, Tander reversed out of the tyres just as Courtney and Lowndes arrived on the scene; Courtney slowed suddenly as he came across Tander straddling the racing line, but it was too late for Lowndes, who clouted the back of the Ford and destroyed his radiator.
Tander took an impressive third in a car now a foot shorter courtesy of its brush with the tyres, finishing ahead of a very pleased Paul Dumbrell, who started from 14th place.
Fifth place should have gone Jason Bright’s way, but his luck seemed to desert him once again this weekend, and he slowed with an engine problem with just three laps to run, dropping to 18th.
Bright’s retirement was a blessing for Ford Performance Racing, which meant that Steven Richards was promoted to fifth, given the team a 1-4-5 result for the cars it runs; Richards managed to resist the overtures of Will Davison by a fraction as the chequered flag fell, as they headed a train of cars that also included Shane van Gisbergen, Jason Richards and Jonathon Webb.
The next round, nine weeks away, is the L&H Philip Island 500.
Click here for the Championship Standings.
Race 2 Final Classification:
[Original image via Life]
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