Mark Winterbottom has taken the lead in the V8 Supercars Championship standings with back-to-back victories at Barbagallo Raceway on Saturday.
Having been pipped to pole position by teammate Chaz Mostert for the opening race, it was Winterbottom who got the jump on the rookie in the short dash to Turn 1.
The opening laps proved to be tight for the entire field, which was covered by less than 15 seconds in the opening laps of the race.
Local driver Garth Tander got off to a disappointing start, wiggling around the final corner before peeling into the pits with what was a terminal rear suspension problem.
Mostert had plenty to prove, and tailed his teammate for the entire race to cross the line just over half a second adrift.
Points leader Craig Lowndes would complete the podium in his Red Bull Racing Holden; the series veteran having to hang on for another race at least before he can crack an unprecedented century of touring car wins.
Teammate Jamie Whincup had a scrappy race, gaining six places from his lowly qualifying result to finish fifteenth. The reigning champion almost rear-ended Ash Walsh’s Mercedes during the race, and scrambled past Tim Slade’s Holden in the closing stages after the SuperCheap Auto Racing driver threw away a top-ten result when he ran wide at Turn 1.
Shane van Gisbergen finished fourth in his TEKNO Holden ahead of Jason Bright (Team BOC Holden), David Reynolds (Bottle-O Racing Ford), Will Davison (Erebus AMG), Fabian Coulthard (Freightliner Racing), Rick Kelly (Nissan) and James Courtney (Holden Racing Team).
|2015 V8 Supercars UBET Perth SuperSprint – Race 7 Final Classification (25 laps)|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew||24:36.141|
|2.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew||+ 0.593|
|3.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing Australia||+ 2.957|
|4.||Shane van Gisbergen||Team Darrell Lea STIX||+ 8.797|
|5.||Jason Bright||Team BOC||+ 9.175|
|6.||David Reynolds||Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 10.119|
|7.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8||+ 12.973|
|8.||Fabian Coulthard||Freightliner Racing||+ 16.304|
|9.||Rick Kelly||Nissan Motorsport||+ 17.961|
|10.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team||+ 18.477|
Winterbottom again made the best start, pulling clear of reigning champion Whincup in another lights-to-flag demonstration run.
Whincup had no answer, steadily falling back from the Ford driver and having to work hard to keep a train of cars – including Fabian Coulthard, Chaz Mostert and Craig Lowndes – behind him to claim second place.
As was the case in Saturday’s opening race, the second SuperSprint proved to be a rather pedestrian affair as the field concentrated on making their tyres last for the entire 25-lap race at a circuit notorious for punishing rubber.
James Courtney finished in sixth ahead of David Reynolds, while Rick Kelly and Will Davison had a spirited battle late in the race for eighth place. Tim Slade completed the top ten.
Scott McLaughlin’s troubled start to the season continued with another DNF; this time his Volvo was confined to the garage with an apparent throttle issue.
|2015 V8 Supercars UBET Perth SuperSprint – Race 8 Final Classification (25 laps)|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew||24:34.872|
|2.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing Australia||+ 2.919|
|3.||Fabian Coulthard||SuperCheap Auto Racing||+ 3.251|
|4.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew||+ 3.647|
|5.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing Australia||+ 4.688|
|6.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team||+ 4.919|
|7.||David Reynolds||Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 7.273|
|8.||Rick Kelly||Nissan Motorsport||+ 11.376|
|9.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8||+ 11.693|
|10.||Tim Slade||SuperCheap Auto Racing||+ 12.383|
Teams will run both the hard and soft compound tyres during tomorrow’s 200-kilometre race, which begins at 2:20pm local time (GMT +8).
Image via Christian Hartung