Mark Winterbottom and co-driver Steven Richards won the 2013 Bathurst 1000

Mark Winterbottom and Ford Performance have finally broken through to claim their first Bathurst 1000 victory, with the factory Falcon driver resisting a stern final-lap challenge from reigning champion Jamie Whincup.

The victory was the perfect reward for Ford’s decision to extend its backing of the team into the 2014 season, with Winterbottom sealing the deal after withstanding a brave outside passing attempt from Whincup at Turn 2 on the last tour of a gripping 161-lap race.

While the win was the first – and long overdue – for ‘Frosty’, it was the third time his co-driver Steven Richards had tasted the victory champagne at Mt Panorama, with his past successes coming in 1998 and 1999.

Winterbottom and Whincup staged a thrilling duel in the closing laps of the raceThe final hour of the race featured a brilliant five-way tussle for the lead, headed by the duelling Winterbottom and Whincup, who were being chased hard by Jason Bright, Garth Tander and Craig Lowndes.

Tander and Lowndes were enjoying the benefit of much fresher tyres, with Tander in particular reeling off a succession of fastest laps to make it a five-way scrap for victory.

Ultimately, he and Lowndes were delayed long enough by Bright, who gave an excellent demonstration of defensive driving as the trio swapped places in the closing laps, before finally the former champion’s tyres gave out to allow Lowndes and Tander to nip through.

The Whincup/Winterbottom battle for the lead had been a focus of almost the entire race. With Whincup’s co-driver Paul Dumbrell starting the race, the Red Bull Racing Australia Holden dominated much of the early going through the first three pit stop sequences.

The race had its first safety car intervention when David Russell came to grief in Todd Kelly’s Nissan after hitting a stray kangaroo that had leapt onto the circuit. The Nissan’s fate was as terminal as the poor marsupial, with the Jack Daniel’s sponsored car forced into retirement.

The race’s second and final safety car interruption on Lap 87 – triggered by James Courtney’s co-driver, Greg Murphy, crashing heavily at Griffin’s Bend – opened up the teams’ strategic options.

Dumbrell was called into the pit lane, while conversely most of the other frontrunners opted to remain on track, which put the #1 Holden well down in traffic. A number of off-track moments in his final stint didn’t help Dumbrell’s cause, and the lost time ensured that Whincup would emerge behind Winterbottom when the two lead drivers cycled back into their final stints in their respective cars.

Scott Pye and Paul Morris finished an unexpected sixth

Behind the top-five, Scott Pye and co-driver Paul Morris claimed a brilliant sixth place for the tiny Lucas Dumbrell Holden team, which had struggled with a shortage of spare parts heading into the weekend. The result was a major boost for the team and Pye, who have suffered with a succession of accidents since a strong showing at the season-opening Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.

Andy Priaulx and Mattias Ekstrom finished tenth in their wildcard entryWill Davison, Scott McLaughlin, David Reynolds – who dropped out of podium contention after being forced to make a late splash-and-dash fuel stop – completed the top-nine placings.

The wildcard pairing of Andy Priaulx and Mattias Ekstrom claimed an outstanding tenth place, even briefly leading mid-race.

With 26 of the 29 entries seeing the chequered flag, it was a race of surprisingly low attrition in the Car of the Future’s debut Bathurst 1000. Dean Fiore and Matt Halliday were the only mechanically-induced retirees, with the pair forced to retire their LDM Holden with a gearbox failure.

2013 V8 Supercars Bathurst 1000 – Final Classification (161 laps):

Driver Entry / Team Result
1. Mark Winterbottom / Steve Richards Ford Ford Performance Racing 6:11:27.932
2. Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell Holden Triple 8 Engineering + 0.474
3. Craig Lowndes / Warren Luff Holden Triple 8 Engineering + 6.236
4. Garth Tander / Nick Percat Holden Walkinshaw Performance + 7.095
5. Jason Bright / Andrew Jones Holden Brad Jones Racing + 14.134
6. Scott Pye / Paul Morris Holden Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport + 20.254
7. Will Davison / Steve Owen Ford Ford Performance Racing + 29.265
8. Scott McLaughlin / Jack Perkins Holden Garry Rogers Motorsport + 43.341
9. David Reynolds / Dean Canto Ford Ford Performance Racing + 46.066
10. Mattias Ekstrom / Andry Priaulx Holden Triple 8 Engineering + 48.277
11. Shane van Gisbergen / Jeroen Bleekemolen Holden Tekno Autosports + 50.474
12. Jonathon Webb / Marc Lieb Holden Tekno Autosports + 50.845
13. Alex Davison / John McIntyre Ford Ford Performance Racing + 51.193
14. Lee Holdsworth / Craig Baird AMG Erebus Motorsport + 54.181
15. Tim Blanchard / Ashley Walsh Ford Dick Johnson Racing + 1:12.734
16. Fabian Coulthard / Luke Youlden Holden Brad Jones Racing + 1:14.123
17. Russell Ingall / Ryan Briscoe Holden Walkinshaw Performance + 1:35.380
18. James Moffat / Taz Douglas Nissan Nissan Motorsport + 1:41.734
19. Rick Kelly / Karl Reindler Nissan Nissan Motorsport + 1:43.662
20. Maro Engel / Steven Johnson AMG Erebus Motorsport + 1 lap
21. Chaz Mostert / Dale Wood Ford Dick Johnson Racing + 5 laps
22. David Wall / Chris Pither Holden Brad Jones Racing + 5 laps
23. Alexandre Prémat / Greg Ritter Holden Garry Rogers Motorsport + 7 laps
24. Tony D’Alberto / Jonny Reid Holden Tony D’Alberto Racing + 11 laps
25. Michael Caruso / Daniel Gaunt Nissan Nissan Motorsport + 13 laps
26. Tim Slade / Andrew Thompson AMG Erebus Motorsport + 23 laps
  Not Classified Entry / Team Result
DNF. Dean Fiore / Matt Halliday Holden Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Gearbox
DNF. James Courtney / Greg Murphy Holden Walkinshaw Performance Accident
DNF. Todd Kelly / David Russell Nissan Nissan Motorsport Accident

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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.