Almost exactly a year on from his last visit to the top step of the podium, Jason Bright has returned to the winners’ circle with victory in the first of four races in the long weekend ITM 500 Auckland V8 Supercars Championship round.
After claiming pole position for the race, the Brad Jones Racing driver was beaten off the line by reigning champion Jamie Whincup. The Red Bull Racing driver looked on course to return to the top step of the podium, only for his Holden to suffer a power steering failure at one-third distance, which pitched him off the circuit before he headed for a lengthy stint in the pits.
That returned Bright to the lead, but he had a battle on his hands with local driver Shane van Gisbergen, who was threatening right behind in second place. In the end, Bright kept the Tekno Holden driver at bay, crossing the finish line 1.6 seconds clear in the time-limited race.
Craig Lowndes consolidated his championship lead by finishing third, narrowly ahead of James Courtney in the TWR Holden.
Will Davison was fifth in the Erebus Motorsport AMG, with Nick Percat, Fabian Coulthard, Scott McLaughlin, Garth Tander and James Moffat completing the top ten.
It was a poor race for Ford, which saw Mark Winterbottom – winner of the last race at Winton – spin out of the top-ten with a wild moment in the closing laps. Fellow Ford runner David Wall suffered a huge accident at the final corner after a clash with Chaz Mostert. The damage to the Dick Johnson Racing driver’s car has put him out of action for the rest of the weekend.
2014 V8 Supercars ITM 500 Auckland – Race 1 Results (33 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Holden Commodore VF||40:48.312|
|2.||Shane van Gisbergen||TEKNO VIP Petfoods / Holden Commodore VF||+ 1.680|
|3.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 4.856|
|4.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 5.596|
|5.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 6.156|
|6.||Nick Percat||Walkinshaw Racing/ Holden Commodore VF||+ 7.159|
|7.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 10.086|
|8.||Scott McLaughlin||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||+ 13.886|
|9.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 17.521|
|10.||James Moffat||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||+ 18.083|
|11.||Tim Slade||SuperCheap Auto Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 18.529|
|12.||Lee Holdsworth||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 19.080|
|13.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG||+ 19.514|
|14.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Ford Falcon FG||+ 20.595|
|15.||Russell Ingall||Repair Management / Holden Commodore VF||+ 21.217|
|16.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||+ 22.231|
|17.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||+ 23.380|
|18.||Scott Pye||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG||+ 24.107|
|19.||Jack Perkins||Jeld-Wen / Ford Falcon FG||+ 24.435|
|20.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||+ 26.198|
|21.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG||+ 26.603|
|22.||Robert Dahlgren||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||+ 37.421|
|23.||Dale Wood||Team ADVAM / Holden Commodore VF||+ 1 lap|
|24.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 7 laps|
|DNF.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG||1 lap|
Image via V8 Supercars Championship Media