Winterbottom takes first victory in Abu Dhabi

Jules Bianchi (left), Mark Winterbottom and Fabian Coulthard on the podium

Jules Bianchi (left), Mark Winterbottom and Fabian Coulthard on the podium

Mark Winterbottom has begun his 2011 racing season in the best possible manner – winning a promotional kart race between V8 Supercars and GP2 Asia drivers ahead of this weekend’s action at the Yas Marina circuit.

The Orrcon Steel Ford Performance Racing driver led home Bundaberg Racing’s Fabian Coulthard and Lotus ART’s Jules Bianchi to take the victory.

Frenchman Bianchi, who is also a Formula One test driver for Scuderia Ferrari, will start as one of the favourites for this weekend’s GP2 Asia support races.

Other V8 Supercars drivers competing were Jamie Whincup (TeamVodafone), Craig Lowndes (Team Vodafone), Garth Tander (Toll Holden Racing Team), Tony D’Alberto (Wilson Security Racing), Shane van Gisbergen (SP Tools Racing), Steve Owen (VIP Petfoods Racing) and Warren Luff (Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport).

Winterbottom on his way to victory

Winterbottom on his way to victory

The V8 Supercars will take to the 4.7km Yas Marina track on Thursday for practice. Qualifying and Race 1 of the Championship will be held on Friday with Race 2 to conclude the event on Saturday.

The GP2 Asia Series will also contest two races  – the first for the all-new GP2 car, and the first for the series using Pirelli tyres.

Bianchi topped the 26 car field at the recent three-day Yas Marina test, ahead of Davide Valsecchi (Team Air Asia), Sam Bird (iSport International), Luiz Razia (Team Air Asia) and Marcus Ericcson (iSport International).

Lotus Renault Formula One test drivers Romain Grosjean and Fairuz Fauzy are also in the field, driving for DAMS and Super Nova respectively.

CLICK HERE to view Speedcafe.com.au‘s Abu Dhabi Race Guide

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