Australian V8 Supercars Championship driver Mark Winterbottom has finished on the podium in his debut in the Brazilian Stock Car championship over the weekend, finishing third in the series’ opening race at Interlagos.
The race, held in damp conditions, was won by teenage racer Felipe Fraga and co-driver Rodrigo Sperafico, while Valdeno Brito and Dutch sports car Jeroen Bleekemolen finished second.
Winterbottom and his main driver, Sergio Jiminez, actually finished fourth in the Peugeot 408-bodied car, but a post-race inquiry for the third-placed runners elevated them to the final podium slot.
Under the format of the race, all regular drivers started the race before handing the controls over to their guest co-drivers, a field which included the likes of former F1 drivers Rubens Barrichello, Ricardo Rosset, Nelson Piquet Jr, Enrique Bernoldi, Chico Serra.
After the pair qualified seventh, Jiminez survived a fraught series of opening laps before pitting and swapping with Winterbottom, who then climbed further up the order as the rain eased.
“[I] did the fastest time on my last lap and was just one-tenth behind [the third-placed car] as we crossed the line. I thought that was pretty good and then got the news that the car in front had been disqualified for a technical breach,” Winterbottom said afterwards.
“I understand they are appealing and no matter what it has been a good result and great experience racing in Brazil.”
Winterbottom wasn’t the only V8 Supercars racer in the field. His Ford Performance Racing stablemate Dean Canto – who is a regular co-driver in the endurance rounds of the Australian championship – was partnered with former V8 racer Max Wilson, however Wilson was caught up in an accident on the third lap and was forced into retirement.
Winterbottom returns to Australia for this weekend’s second round of the V8 Supercars Championship, the Tyrepower 400 at Symmons Plains in Tasmania.
Image via Mark Winterbottom