Mark Winterbottom has claimed his seventh win of the 2015 V8 Supercars season – and his third on the trot – with a comfortable display in the opening race of the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint at Queensland Raceway.
The Prodrive Racing driver crossed the line over four seconds clear of Volvo Polestar Racing driver Scott McLaughlin, who claimed a long overdue first podium finish of the season.
Key to Winterbottom’s victory was a great getaway from second on the grid. That allowed his to beat teammate Chaz Mostert to the first corner, and he simply drove away from there to one of his easiest wins to-date.
McLaughlin was the bigger mover, getting past the Ford Falcons of Andre Heimgartner and Chaz Mostert with successive passing moves early on.
Mostert was then left to defend himself against the attentions of Shane van Gisbergen in the TEKNO Holden. It was a fierce scrap that lasted until the chequered flag, with the pair making light contact several times as both refused to give an inch in the battle.
It all came to a head on the penultimate lap, with another touch between the pair allowing an opportunistic Craig Lowndes to sneak onto the final podium slot; Mostert slipped to fifth behind van Gisbergen.
James Courtney claimed sixth position for Holden Racing Team with David Reynolds finishing seventh and James Moffatt eighth for Nissan Motorsport, although Moffat was subsequently excluded from this race and the day’s subsequent Sprint Race when his car failed post-race scrutineering.
That promoted reigning champion Jamie Whincup to eighth and Erebus Motorsport’s Will Davison into ninth place, while Fabian Coulthard rounded out the top ten for Brad Jones Racing.
Super Black Racing rookie driver Andre Heimgartner failed to capitalise on his second-row starting position. The young Kiwi found himself in the thick of the action early on and was rapidly shoved aside by his more aggressive rivals en route to finishing a disappointing fifteenth.
The race saw two retirees, with Jason Bright coming off worse in an opening-lap contact with the second Volvo of David Wall, although in fairness both were innocent victims as they were caught up in contact triggered by Bright’s teammate Dale Wood tagging Todd Kelly’s Nissan. Wood was issued with a 25-point penalty in a post-race stewards’ hearing. Scott Pye retired his DJR Team Penske Ford with a broken oil cooler tank.
|2015 V8 Supercars Championship Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint – Race 18 Top-10 Finishers (20 laps)|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||Mark Winterbottom||Prodrive Racing||23:51.285|
|2.||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo Polestar Racing||+ 4.530|
|3.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing / Triple 8||+ 11.387|
|4.||Shane van Gisbergen||TEKNO Autosports||+ 11.820|
|5.||Chaz Mostert||Prodrive Racing||+ 12.235|
|6.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team||+ 12.577|
|7.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 12.838|
|8.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing / Triple 8||+ 13.624|
|9.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8||+ 14.797|
|10.||Fabian Coulthard||Freightliner / Brad Jones Racing||+ 18.625|
Image via V8 Supercars Championship