Mark Winterbottom has become the sixth different race winner of the 214 V8 Supercars Championship season to-date, closing out the Winton 400 with victory in Sunday’s feature race.

The Ford Performance Racing driver showed great improvement over the weekend to move into second place in the Drivers’ Championship standings on 673 points, just 28 points adrift of current leader Craig Lowndes.

Winterbottom made an outstanding getaway from the second row of the grid at the start, but found himself craftily boxed in by pole-sitter Scott McLaughlin on the short run to the first corner and had to slot into third behind Shane van Gisbergen’s Holden.

While McLaughlin quickly skipped away to build an early lead in his Volvo, van Gisbergen created a freight train for the first five laps before Winterbottom finally forced his way by the New Zealander.

The Tekno Autosport driver was clearly struggling for grip early on, and within a lap he found himself shuffled down over a dozen places before electing to make an early pit stop for fresh tyres.

Free of the chasing pack, Winterbottom set about closing down the gap to McLaughlin, who’d perhaps been too hard on his tyres in the opening laps. After a pursuit lasting over a dozen laps, the Ford driver eased his way past McLaughlin to assume the lead.

The pair pitted a lap later and left in the same order – although McLaughlin found himself emerging behind a yet-to-pit Tim Slade – but hopes of their battle continuing were dealt a blow when McLaughlin was ordered through the pits for a drive-through penalty after he was clocked speeding in the pit lane during his first stop. That ruined his race and consigned him to a distant sixteenth-placed finish.

Out in front, Winterbottom wasn’t going to have it all his own way, with Race 1 winner Fabian Coulthard finding his second tyre set to his liking. The Holden driver quickly closed up on Winterbottom and the pair made their second pit stops nose-to-tail, only for Coulthard to cop a drive-through penalty for speeding as well.

Coulthard’s penalty promoted James Courtney to second place, but he was unable to match or better Winterbottom’s pace and ultimately finished almost ten seconds adrift. Slade, his Walkinshaw Racing stablemate, finished third on his alternative tyre strategy to earn his first podium finish of the season.

Jason Bright and David Renolds finished in close company after a tight battle in the closing laps for fourth and fifth place, with Reynolds’ FPR stablemate Chaz Mostert in sixth, three seconds behind.

Lowndes finished in seventh to consolidate his points lead after a tough weekend for the Red Bull Racing squad – teammate and reigning champion Jamie Whincup was tenth.

The field now has a three-week break before they cross the Tasman to contest the Auckland 500 at Pukekohe Raceway over the ANZAC Day long weekend.


2014 V8 Supercars Winton 400 – Race 3 Results (67 laps):

Driver Team / Entry Result
1. Mark Winterbottom Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG Ford 1:36:23.443
2. James Courtney Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 9.491
3. Tim Slade SuperCheap Auto Racing / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 10.775
4. Jason Bright Team BOC / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 19.758
5. David Reynolds The Bottle-O Racing Team / Ford Falcon FG Ford + 20.457
6. Chaz Mostert Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG Ford + 23.914
7. Craig Lowndes Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 25.368
8. Michael Caruso Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima Nissan + 27.119
9. James Moffat Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima Nissan + 27.402
10. Jamie Whincup Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 31.874
11. Fabian Coulthard Lockwood Racing / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 33.616
12. Shane van Gisbergen TEKNO VIP Petfoods / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 34.197
13. Todd Kelly Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima Nissan + 37.291
14. Rick Kelly Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima Nissan + 37.524
15. Lee Holdsworth Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG AMG + 39.378
16. Scott McLaughlin Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60 Volvo + 40.706
17. Nick Percat Walkinshaw Racing/ Holden Commodore VF Holden + 52.021
18. Will Davison Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG AMG + 56.146
19. Scott Pye Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG Ford + 57.023
20. Russell Ingall Repair Management / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 57.833
21. Jack Perkins Jeld-Wen / Ford Falcon FG Ford + 1:14.765
22. David Wall Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG Ford + 1:17.905
23. Garth Tander Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 2 laps
24. Robert Dahlgren Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60 Volvo + 3 laps
25. Dale Wood Team ADVAM / Holden Commodore VF Holden + 3 laps

Image via V8 Supercars Championship Media

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Geoff Burke

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