FPR scores breakthrough Bathurst victory

Sunday 13th October, 2013


Author: Stefan Bartholomaeus ©

Winterbottom and Richards celebrate victory

Winterbottom and Richards celebrate victory

Mark Winterbottom held off arch rival Jamie Whincup to score a long-awaited maiden Bathurst victory for himself and Ford Performance Racing.

A day after re-signing Ford’s factory backing, the FPR crew watched on as Winterbottom survived an audacious outside passing attempt from Whincup on the last lap.

The victory is the third for Winterbottom’s co-driver Steve Richards, who also tasted success in 1998 and 1999.

Craig Lowndes won an equally intense battle for third in the closing stages to finish ahead of Garth Tander and Jason Bright.

Scott Pye, Will Davison, Scott McLaughlin, David Reynolds and Andy Priaulx completed the top 10.

The 161 lap journey was completed in record time, with just two Safety Car periods ensuring that the race record, set in 2010, was broken by 84 seconds.

The race was effectively run in two halves, with Whincup and co-driver Dumbrell dominating much of the early going.

The pair led all but eight of the first 76 laps as the field rattled through their pitstop schedules.

A crash for Greg Murphy on Lap 87 would prove decisive as, with a 20 second lead, the Red Bull team called Dumbrell to pitlane.

With the majority of their rivals staying out, the move put Dumbrell back in the traffic.

Two minor offs for Dumbrell in his final stint helped ensure that Whincup would be behind Winterbottom when the two primary drivers cycled back into their cars as the 100 lap marker approached.

The duo were locked together for the majority of the final three stints but, apart from an attempt at Griffins Bend on the last lap, Whincup proved unable to mount a challenge.

Eventual third place finishers Lowndes and Luff ran off sequence with the two heavy hitters during the first half of the race after completing a short first stint.

As was the case in 2012, Lowndes was simply left with too much to do in his final stints, resulting in a repeat of last year’s third place finish.

Jason Bright proved the biggest hurdle to the late charges of Lowndes and also the Tander/Nick Percat entry.

Bright’s Team BOC Holden ran line astern with the top two at the start of the final fuel load, but faded as the laps wound down.

That set-up a thrilling scrap with Lowndes and Tander, whose pit sequence ensured he entered the final 15 lap sprint with fresh tyres.

The trio swapped position back and forth until Bright’s tyres finally gave out.

Reynolds had briefly made it a four way scrap before being forced to pit for fuel with just two laps to go.

The Bottle-O Ford’s race took a major blow when Murphy crashed. Then running second to Dumbrell, Reynolds found himself spending a lap behind the Safety Car after missing the pit entry.

It was another green car, the Triple Eight-run Xbox Holden of Andy Priaulx and Mattias Ekstrom, that played a starring role in the latter stages.

The wildcard entry led a total of 17 laps between laps 104 and 134 as it ran on an alternate strategy to the leaders.

Although the team later said it always needed a splash of fuel to make it home, Priaulx emerged in front of the leaders when Winterbottom and Whincup made their final stops, raising hopes of a major upset.

The Briton was soon called back to pit road after a lock-up, however, setting the car into its eventual finishing position of 10th.

The Scott Pye/Paul Morris Holden ran the same strategy as the Xbox car and did make it home on fuel, taking a brilliant sixth.

Alexandre Premat meanwhile ran between Ekstrom and Pye during the penultimate stint and too appeared headed for a strong result until a fuel filler malfunction resulted in a black flag and a lengthy pitstop.

Among the others with hard luck stories were Courtney and Murphy, who challenged the seemingly dominant Red Bull and FPR cars in the first half until a mistake from the Kiwi at Reid Park resulted in a heavy accident.

The other Safety Car had been called following a collision between David Russell’s Nissan and a kangaroo on Lap 21.

A gearbox failure for Dean Fiore and Matthew Halliday was the only mechanical-related DNF in an impressive endorsement for the Car of the Future’s reliability.

Several lost time with issues however, including Slade/Thompson (power steering), Wall/Pither (power steering), Caruso/Gaunt (power steering), D’Alberto/Reid (rear suspension) and Mostert/Wood (starter motor).

The V8 Supercars Championship continues in two weeks time with the Armor All Gold Coast 600.

See below for the full race result

1Pepsi Max Crew FPR FordM.Winterbottom/S.RichardsFord Falcon FG16106:11:27.93
2Red Bull Racing AustraliaJ.Whincup/P.DumbrellHolden Commodore VF16106:11:28.41
3Red Bull Racing AustraliaC.Lowndes/W.LuffHolden Commodore VF16106:11:34.17
4Holden Racing TeamG.Tander/N.PercatHolden Commodore VF16106:11:35.03
5Team BOCJ.Bright/A.JonesHolden Commodore VF16106:11:42.07
6Sargent Security RacingS.Pye/P.MorrisHolden Commodore VF16106:11:48.19
7Pepsi Max Crew FPR FordW.Davison/S.OwenFord Falcon FG16106:11:57.20
8Fujitsu Racing GRMS.McLaughlin/J.PerkinsHolden Commodore VF16106:12:11.27
9The Bottle-O FPR FordD.Reynolds/D.CantoFord Falcon FG16106:12:14.00
10XBOX ONE RacingA.Priaulx/M.EkstromHolden Commodore VF16106:12:16.21
11TEKNO Team VIP PetfoodsS.Van Gisbergen/J.BleekemolenHolden Commodore VF16106:12:18.41
12TEKNO Team Darrell LeaJ.Webb/M.LiebHolden Commodore VF16106:12:18.78
13Jeld-wen FPR FordA.Davison/J.McIntyreFord Falcon FG16106:12:19.13
14Irwin RacingL.Holdsworth/C.BairdMercedes E63 AMG16106:12:22.11
15Wilson Security RacingT.Blanchard/A.WalshFord Falcon FG16106:12:40.67
16Lockwood RacingF.Coulthard/L.YouldenHolden Commodore VF16106:12:42.06
17Supercheap Auto RacingR.Ingall/R.BriscoeHolden Commodore VF16106:13:03.31
18Norton HornetsJ.Moffat/T.DouglasNissan Altima16106:13:09.67
19Jack Daniel’s RacingR.Kelly/K.ReindlerNissan Altima16106:13:11.59
20SP Tools RacingM.Engel/S.JohnsonMercedes E63 AMG16006:11:32.68
21Wilson Security RacingC.Mostert/D.WoodFord Falcon FG15606:12:13.18
22Wilson Security RacingD.Wall/C.PitherHolden Commodore VF15606:13:09.07
23Fujitsu Racing GRMA.Premat/G.RitterHolden Commodore VF15406:11:56.94
24Team HIFLEXT.D’Alberto/J.ReidHolden Commodore VF14906:11:52.96
25Norton HornetsM.Caruso/D.GauntNissan Altima14706:13:33.32
26Heavy Haulage Australia RacingT.Slade/A.ThompsonMercedes E63 AMG13706:11:58.19
DNFDodo Insurance RacingD.Fiore/M.HallidayHolden Commodore VF14505:40:24.63
DNFHolden Racing TeamJ.Courtney/G.MurphyHolden Commodore VF8503:15:17.87
DNFJack Daniel’s RacingDavid RussellNissan Altima2048:06.70

See below for the updated championship standingsĀ 

1Jamie Whincup2423
2Craig Lowndes2309
3Mark Winterbottom2281
4Will Davison2242
5Fabian Coulthard2015
6Jason Bright1937
7Garth Tander1920
8Shane Van Gisbergen1914
9James Courtney1909
10Scott McLaughlin1778
11Jonathon Webb1527
12David Reynolds1498
13Alex Davison1332
14James Moffat1311
15Rick Kelly1311
16Tony D’Alberto1153
17Alexandre Premat1127
18Russell Ingall1115
19Chaz Mostert1102
20Lee Holdsworth1001
21Michael Caruso959
22Tim Slade959
23David Wall959
24Dean Fiore922
25Scott Pye853
26Todd Kelly833
27Tim Blanchard823
28Maro Engel726
29Paul Dumbrell576
30Warren Luff534
31Steven Richards504
32Jack Perkins460
33Steve Owen450
34Craig Baird366
35Nick Percat318
36Luke Youlden306
37Andrew Jones288
38Jonny Reid287
39Jeroen Bleekemolen282
40Ryan Briscoe276
41Dean Canto276
42Marc Lieb270
43John McIntyre252
44Greg Ritter228
45Greg Murphy222
46Dale Wood210
47Karl Reindler210
48Paul Morris204
49Chris Pither174
50Mattias Ekstrom156
51Andy Priaulx156
52Taz Douglas156
53Daniel Gaunt150
54Steven Johnson150
55David Russell144
56Andrew Thompson138
57Ashley Walsh120
58Matthew Halliday102

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