Mark Winterbottom has followed on from his race win a fortnight ago at Hamilton to claim victory in the opening V8 Supercars race at the Trading Post Perth Challenge at Barbagallo Raceway.
And while Winterbottom’s fortunes continued the dominant run shown by Ford Performance Racing since the start of the season, the same could not be said for team-mate Will Davison, who was an innocent victim in a first-lap accident.
‘Frosty’ had his own problems to overcome before the start of the 50-lap race, not least of which was being hit by pole-sitter Garth Tander when the Holden driver took up his position on the dummy grid.
The contact mangled Winterbottom’s door, leaving his mechanics scrambling to fit a replacement in the minutes before the race would get underway.
Perhaps not satisfied with the repairs on Winterbottom’s door, Tander seemed intent on having another go on the opening lap of the race. Having lost the lead at the start of the race to fellow front-row starter Jason Bright, Tander found himself bumped to third place by Jamie Whincup further around the lap.
As the pack hurtled down the track’s longest straight, Winterbottom took the inside line to claim third from Tander, only for the hometown driver to engage in a bit of spirited wheel-banging with Winterbottom as he tried to defend his position.
Winterbottom would slip through to claim third as they braked for the final corner, but a too-opportunistic David Reynolds tried to profit on the move and get by as well, only to succeed in tipping Tander into a spin.
In the melee, Davison was also tapped at the rear and sent into a collision with Tander’s car. The contact put Tander out on the spot, while Davison had to limp around for another lap to have his broken suspension tended to. He would eventually rejoin the race, finishing nine laps behind.
Tander’s stricken car prompted the first of two safety car interruptions in the race, with the second coming almost immediately after the race was restarted when James Moffat was tipped into the gravel by Dick Johnson Racing team-mate Dean Fiore.
When the racing did get underway, Bright’s lead would last until Lap 13 before Whincup slipped by to claim the lead. Unable to maintain quite the pace of the frontrunners, Bright started to steadily drop down the order, allowing Winterbottom into second place.
With rain-heavy clouds overhead and assuming the race remained dry enough for click tyres, the field was obliged to use both Dunlop’s hard and soft tyre compounds in the race.
Most of the field opted to start on the quicker, softer rubber, believing that a predicted shower would warrant a switch to wet-weather tyres later in the race.
Others, including Winterbottom and Craig Lowndes (starting from a lowly 16th) opted to start on the harder tyre, relying on a late run on the softer tyre – which would cope better if the track temperatures cooled – to get them up the order.
Incredibly, Winterbottom was able to run at the same pace as Whincup in the opening stint, pitting two laps later than the defending champion and emerging in a lead he would never surrender.
Whincup’s run to second place ensured that he would resume the championship points lead from the troubled Davison, while the podium was completed by Lowndes, who staged an impressive climb to finish third, holding off a train of cars in the closing laps.
The top ten was completed by Lee Holdsworth, James Courtney, Tim Slade, a misfiring Shane van Gisbergen, followed by Michael Caruso, Rick Kelly and Bright.
Tomorrow’s action sees two more 50-lap races around the 2.4-kilometre circuit, preceded by separate twenty-minute qualifying sessions.
2012 V8 Supercars Trading Post Perth Challenge – Race 1 Result (50 laps):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Laps||Result|
|1.||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing||50||52:48.8024|
|2.||Jamie Whincup||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||50||+ 3.2861|
|3.||Craig Lowndes||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||50||+ 21.2797|
|4.||Lee Holdsworth||Irwin Racing / Stone Brothers Racing||50||+ 21.6093|
|5.||James Courtney||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||50||+ 22.0586|
|6.||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 Racing / Stone Brothers Racing||50||+ 22.2656|
|7.||Shane van Gisbergen||SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing||50||+ 22.6870|
|8.||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||50||+ 22.9296|
|9.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||50||+ 23.4377|
|10.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||50||+ 24.5348|
|11.||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto / Walkinshaw Racing||50||+ 26.5728|
|12.||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing||50||+ 27.0280|
|13.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash||50||+ 28.0541|
|14.||Jonathon Webb||Tekno Autosports||50||+ 30.3739|
|15.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing||50||+ 34.4275|
|16.||Dean Fiore||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||50||+ 34.5770|
|17.||Alexandre Prémat||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||50||+ 36.2181|
|18.||Michael Patrizi||Tekno Autosports||50||+ 37.7487|
|19.||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||50||+ 42.9124|
|20.||Tony D’Alberto||HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing||50||+ 42.9498|
|21.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||50||+ 44.1316|
|22.||David Wall||Wilson Security / Brad Jones Racing||50||+ 46.6427|
|23.||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds / Kelly Racing||49||+ 1 lap|
|24.||Taz Douglas||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||49||+ 1 lap|
|25.||Will Davison||Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing||41||+ 9 laps|
|DNF.||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods / Dick Johnson Racing||26||Engine|
|DNF.||James Moffat||Team Norton / Dick Johnson Racing||7||Spin|
|DNF.||Garth Tander||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||0||Collision|