Mark Winterbottom was the class of the field in today’s curtain-closing V8 Supercars race of the ITM 500 at Auckland, securing his third race win of the season and the Jason Richards Trophy in a dominant display.
The Ford Performance Racing driver was in a league of his own over today’s 200-kilometre race, finishing almost seven seconds clear of pole-sitter and local crowd favourite Scott McLaughlin.
Winterbottom qualified and ran fourth in the opening phase of the race, disposing of fast-starting teammate David Reynolds in the early laps before leap-frogging Shane van Gisbergen’s Holden in the first round of pit stops.
The strategy and superior pace put him right up the exhaust of McLaughlin’s leading Volvo, and he assumed the lead when the pair pitted for the second and final time with 25 laps to go; the FPR crew turned the car around quicker and the effective lead was his.
As was the case yesterday, it was an FPR podium double, with Winterbottom’s factory stablemate Chaz Mostert finishing a strong third. Reynolds could also have featured in contention for the podium, but he suffered a high-speed left rear tyre failure midway through the race and fell to 17th.
Van Gisbergen, Michael Caruso, Jason Bright, Will Davison, Rick Kelly, Fabian Coulthard and Jamie Whincup rounded out the top ten in a race that ran without any safety car interruptions.
Winterbottom’s win also saw him extend his lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings to 100 points over Craig Lowndes, who had a disastrous day on his ‘bogey’ circuit. The Red Bull Racing driver qualified a lowly 18th, but his gamble of pitting ‘off-strategy’ backfired and he finished a lowly 20th.
That was one spot better than Tim Slade, who qualified on the front row of the grid but saw his hopes of a possible podium finish evaporate when his clutch overheated before the start.
2014 V8 Supercars ITM 500 Auckland – Race 4 Results (69 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG||1:16:41.072|
|2.||Scott McLaughlin||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||+ 6.981|
|3.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG||+ 16.881|
|4.||Shane van Gisbergen||TEKNO VIP Petfoods / Holden Commodore VF||+ 23.512|
|5.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||+ 25.249|
|6.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Holden Commodore VF||+ 27.952|
|7.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 28.805|
|8.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||+ 29.778|
|9.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 30.810|
|10.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 33.744|
|11.||Nick Percat||Walkinshaw Racing/ Holden Commodore VF||+ 34.084|
|12.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 36.138|
|13.||Scott Pye||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG||+ 37.433|
|14.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 38.326|
|15.||Lee Holdsworth||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 39.083|
|16.||James Moffat||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||+ 39.389|
|17.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Ford Falcon FG||+ 40.312|
|18.||Jack Perkins||Jeld-Wen / Ford Falcon FG||+ 41.772|
|19.||Russell Ingall||Repair Management / Holden Commodore VF||+ 47.650|
|20.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 50.097|
|21.||Tim Slade||SuperCheap Auto Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 50.473|
|22.||Dale Wood||Team ADVAM / Holden Commodore VF||+ 1 lap|
|23.||Robert Dahlgren||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||+ 1 lap|
|24.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||+ 1 lap|
|WD.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG|
Image via V8 Supercars Championship Media