Mark Winterbottom held off a stiff challenge from Jason Bright to secure victory

Mark Winterbottom has resisted intense pressure from Jason Bright to secure victory in today’s opening race at Winton Raceway, and in the process made major inroads into Jamie Whincup’s championship lead after the series leader suffered back-to-back DNFs.

After a poor qualifying performance for both of today’s 100-kilometre races, Whincup’s Saturday got even worse on the opening lap when he was taken out of proceedings in a multi-car accident as the field exited Turn 2.

The smash was triggered by Alexandre Prémat, who found himself squeezed off-track at the Turn 1 left-hander and his attempted to rejoin the circuit, the Frenchman triggered a chain reaction that saw Whincup, Garth Tander, Michael Caruso and Russell Ingall cop damage.

While Ingall and Prémat were out on the spot, Whincup’s mechanics were able to perform some repairs on the championship leader’s Holden so he could rejoin the race in the hope of salvaging some damage-limiting championship points. He rejoined the field six laps down, but was forced to retire in order for further repairwork to be carried ahead of today’s second race later in the afternoon.

Up at the front, it was Winterbottom who assumed the lead, making a superb start from the second row of the grid as Bright and fellow front-row starter Tony D’Alberto both bogged down off the line.

The Ford driver quickly skipped away into an early lead, while a more circumspect Bright gently played his tyres in and concentrated on keeping D’Alberto and chasing pack at bay.

Bright started to turn up the wick in the latter half of the race, quickly closing down Winterbottom’s lead to try and mount a challenge for victory.

Ultimately the wily Winterbottom withstood all of Bright’s attention, with the pair crossing the finish line just four-tenths of a second apart.

D’Alberto’s dreams of a first podium finish were denied by James Courtney, who snuck by the owner/driver mid-race to claim the final podium spot. D’Alberto carried on, holding off Shane van Gisbergen and David Reynolds to secure a career-best fourth-placed finish at the end of the 34-lap race.

Will Davison, Fabian Coulthard, Scott McLaughlin and David Wall completed the top-ten, while Race 1 winner James Moffat charged through to finish eleventh after a poor qualifying performance that netted him 25th on the grid.

Moffat and his Nissan teammate Michael Caruso had copped plenty of envious glances after their 1-2 finish in yesterday’s SuperSprint race, which rival outfits claimed came as a result of the experimental Bioethanol-70 blend fuel they were allowed to run in the race.

The different fuel had been signed off to assess whether it (compared with the standard E85 fuel used by the rest of the field) gave the new Nissans and AMG E63s better fuel consumption as the field gears up for the next three endurance rounds, and on the basis of Moffat’s pace on the conventional fuel, it’s fair to say it made absolutely no difference at all.

The final 100-kilometre race gets underway at 4:15pm local time, with James Courtney starting from pole position.

2013 V8 Supercars Winton 360 – Race 2 Final Classification (34 laps):

Driver Entry / Team Result
1. Mark Winterbottom Ford Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing 50:25.525
2. Jason Bright Holden Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing + 0.423
3. James Courtney Holden Holden Racing Team / TWR + 6.264
4. Tony D’Alberto Holden HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing + 11.268
5. Shane van Gisbergen Holden VIP Petfoods / Tekno Autosports + 11.766
6. David Reynolds Ford Bottle-O Racing / Ford Performance Racing + 12.147
7. Will Davison Ford Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing + 17.794
8. Fabian Coulthard Holden Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing + 18.209
9. Scott McLaughlin Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport + 23.036
10. David Wall Holden Wilson Security Racing / Brad Jones Racing + 23.281
11. James Moffat Nissan Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 23.781
12. Craig Lowndes Holden Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering + 30.490
13. Chaz Mostert Ford Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing + 34.171
14. Todd Kelly Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 34.542
15. Scott Pye Holden EKOL Racing / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport + 34.993
16. Dean Fiore Holden Dodo Insurance / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport + 35.365
17. Maro Engel AMG SP Tools Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 35.688
18. Alex Davison Ford Jeld-Wen Racing / Ford Performance Racing + 40.227
19. Tim Slade AMG Heavy Haulage Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 40.573
20. Lee Holdsworth AMG IRWIN Racing / Erebus Motorsport + 44.546
21. Tim Blanchard Ford Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing + 46.437
22. Rick Kelly Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport + 46.991
23. Garth Tander Holden Holden Racing Team / TWR + 5 laps
24. Jonathon Webb Holden Darrell Lea Racing / Tekno Autosports + 7 laps
  Not Classified      
DNF. Jamie Whincup Holden Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering 20 laps
DNF. Michael Caruso Nissan Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport 6 laps
DNF. Alexandre Prémat Holden Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport 0 laps
DNF. Russell Ingall Holden SuperCheap Auto Racing / TWR 0 laps

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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.