Mark Winterbottom has claimed victory in Sunday's opening sprint race at Hidden Valley Raceway

Mark Winterbottom broke his year-long winless drought with victory in the second race of the SKYCITY Triple Crown at Darwin’s Hidden Valley. The FPR pilot drove a composed 35 lap race, recovering from yesterday’s disastrous incident with teammate David Reynolds to record his 21st career victory.

The race appeared destined for a Ford Performance Racing one-two finish, however Will Davison was unable to hold off the surging pair of James Courtney and Craig Lowndes in the closing stages, and crossed the line fourth with a heavily worn set of tyres. Courtney held off Craig Lowndes for second position, even after the two came together at the Turn 6 hairpin on the final lap. Championship leader Jamie Whincup rounded out the top five for Red Bull Racing in a typically consistent showing to consolidate his healthy points lead in the points table.

Polesitter Courtney led the field into the first corner after jumping Winterbottom off the line at the start of the race. However, it soon became evident that the HRT pilot was struggling with the balance of his Commodore on the hard tyre, and was swiftly overtaken by eventual winner Winterbottom on the seventh lap. ‘Frosty’ never looked back after assuming the lead of the race, and continued to extend his lead during and after the pit-stop phase to record a convincing victory.

The difference in tyre strategy presented an interesting mix at the front of the race before the field was cleansed by the compulsory pit-stops. Dean Fiore opted to begin the race on the softer compound tyre, and led the race before he pitted on the 17th lap to switch to the hard tyre. The Dodo Insurance Racing Holden pilot finished 19th, and it appeared that his strategy did not pay off considering that he finished two spots behind his grid position.

Scott McLaughlin also tried a different strategy, having pitted for soft tyres on only the fifth lap of the race. The undercut strategy initially appeared to be an effective one for the 20-year-old; however he became vulnerable on worn tyres throughout the latter stages of the race, and tumbled down the order to finish 27th overall.

Jonathon Webb continued his consistent run of form, piloting his Tekno Autosport Commodore to sixth position to back up his fourth-placed finish yesterday. Webb was followed home by Fabian Coulthard in the Lockwood Racing entry, ahead of Shane van Gisbergen in the second Tekno entry, HRT’s Garth Tander, and David Reynolds, who rounded out the top 10 in his Bottle-O backed Falcon and will start from pole position in today’s second race.

In what was a relatively uneventful race, a couple of incidents occurred during some close racing around the 2.87-kilometre circuit. Jonathon Webb dived up the inside of Scott Pye at Turn 5, who was falling back through the field on a worn set of hard tyres. The incident is under a post-race investigation by the stewards, who may dock points from Webb and could potentially leave a sour taste for the New South Welshman after a typically workmanlike performance. As mentioned, Craig Lowndes and James Courtney came together on the final lap; however the contact was not severe enough to warrant any further action from the stewards, who have already hit Lowndes with a 15-point penalty for his antics in yesterday’s race when he collided with Will Davison.

It was another impressive showing from the Erebus Motorsport newcomers; with Tim Slade finishing eleventh after spending much of the race in the top ten in his Heavy Haulage Australia backed AMG Mercedes. Teammate Lee Holdsworth was also competitive, eventually finishing 16th having qualified in 20th.

In terms of the championship standings, Craig Lowndes has slightly narrowed the margin to 224 points behind Whincup, and will look to further impinge on Whincup’s lead when he starts from second in the final race of the weekend. Will Davison also reclaimed third in the standings from Jason Bright, who fell down to sixth in the points after struggling to 13th position in today’s opener.

The final race of the SKYCITY Triple Crown will commence at 3:45pm Central Standard Time.

2013 V8 Supercars SkyCity Triple Crown – Race 2 Final Classification (35 laps):

Driver Entry / Team Result
1. Mark Winterbottom Ford Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing 42:28.7456
2. James Courtney Holden Holden Racing Team / TWR + 6.0120
3. Craig Lowndes Holden Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering + 6.2422
4. Will Davison Ford Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing + 7.5924
5. Jamie Whincup Holden Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering + 7.9244
6. Jonathon Webb Holden Darrell Lea Racing / Tekno Autosports + 9.9060
7. Fabian Coulthard Holden Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing + 15.2464
8. Shane van Gisbergen Holden VIP Petfoods / Tekno Autosports + 15.8638
9. Garth Tander Holden Holden Racing Team / TWR + 21.2476
10. David Reynolds Ford Bottle-O Racing / Ford Performance Racing + 25.5242
11. Tim Slade AMG Heavy Haulage Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 26.1154
12. Todd Kelly Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 26.6694
13. Jason Bright Holden Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing + 28.5117
14. David Wall Holden Wilson Security Racing / Brad Jones Racing + 29.4136
15. Alexandre Prémat Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport + 31.0534
16. Lee Holdsworth AMG IRWIN Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 31.2454
17. Chaz Mostert Ford Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing + 34.9578
18. Tony D’Alberto Holden HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing + 38.1338
19. Dean Fiore Holden Dodo Insurance / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport + 38.1826
20. Alex Davison Ford Jeld-Wen Racing / Ford Performance Racing + 39.5032
21. Michael Caruso Nissan Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 44.2617
22. Maro Engel AMG SP Tools Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 44.9907
23. James Moffat Nissan Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 45.1545
24. Tim Blanchard Ford Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing + 49.9954
25. Rick Kelly Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 50.2009
26. Russell Ingall Holden SuperCheap Auto Racing / TWR + 51.6645
27. Scott McLaughlin Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport + 55.2761
28. Scott Pye Holden EKOL Racing / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport + 1:28.0691 supports a world free of factory farming. Learn more and pledge your support by CLICKING HERE!

Tristan Clark
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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.