Mark Winterbottom overcame late pressure from Prodrive Racing stablemate to claim victory in the first race of the V8 Supercars Championship Townsville 400 double-header to extend his lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
‘Frosty’ got the jump on Pepsi Max Crew teammate and pole-winner Chaz Mostert off the line, sweeping around the outside of the youngster through the Turn 1 kink to assume a lead which he would only surrender during the 70-lap race’s pit stop sequences.
Mostert tried to give chase, but overdid it with his tyre management in the final stint and tumbled down the order in the closing laps to finish in eighth place.
Later in the race, Winterbottom came under serious attention from Reynolds, who shadowed him throughout the final laps without ever getting close enough to attempt a serious passing move. The pair crossed the finish line less than 0.3 seconds apart.
Third place went to Fabian Coulthard in the Freightliner Racing Holden. The New Zealander opted to run on an alternate pit strategy compared to many in the field – significantly short-filling the car during his first pit stop – and charged up to the final podium position. He was quicker than both Winterbottom and Reynolds in the closing stages, but ran out of laps to get close enough to mount a challenge for victory.
Scott McLaughlin secured the Volvo team’s best finish of a trying season so far, crossing the line in fourth place ahead of the DJR Team Penske Ford of Scott Pye, who had another promising outing for the one-car team.
Holden Racing Team duo James Courtney and Garth Tander finished as the best-placed Commodore runners in sixth and seventh, while Mostert, Janie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen (who started at the back of the grid after being stripped of his qualifying times – rounded out the top ten.
The race was unusual in that was devoid of Safety Car interruptions, although there was a bit of first lap biff-and-barge between Todd Kelly’s Nissan and Andre Heimgartner’s Super Black Racing Ford, which saw the latter having to pit with a puncture.
Nick Percat was the race’s sole retiree when his LDM Holden stopped with mechanical dramas, while Dale Wood finished six laps down in his Brad Jones Racing Holden after a long pit stop to fix a faulty alternator.
Sunday sees the weekend’s second 200-kilometre race, preceded by an open qualifying session and the Top-10 Shootout for pole.
|2015 V8 Supercars Castrol Edge Townsville 400 – Race 16 Top-10 Classified Finishers (70 laps)|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew||1:29:22.567|
|2.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 0.271|
|3.||Fabian Coulthard||Freightliner Racing||+ 1.507|
|4.||Scott McLaughlin||Wilson Security Racing GRM||+ 6.992|
|5.||Scott Pye||DJR Team Penske||+ 7.643|
|6.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team||+ 11.683|
|7.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team||+ 15.888|
|8.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew||+ 20.494|
|9.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing||+ 21.632|
|10.||Shane van Gisbergen||Team Darrell Lea Stix||+ 23.012|
Image via V8 Supercars Championship