Mark Winterbottom has survived the ‘drop zone’ format to win this morning’s qualifying race for the MSS Security V8 Supercars Challenge at Albert Park.
Winterbottom took the lead from a fast-starting Shane van Gisbergen halfway around the opening lap, and was not headed for the duration.
Jamie Whincup also made quick work of Van Gisbergen and eventually finished just 0.45s adrift of Winterbottom in second place.
Van Gisbergen, Will Davison, David Reynolds, Craig Lowndes, Rick Kelly, Garth Tander, Tony D’Alberto and Todd Kelly rounded out the top 10.
Tander had run third for much of the race before running wide at Turn 15 and losing five places.
The Safety Car had been called on just the second lap when contact between Steve Owen and Michael Patrizi at the exit of Turn 10 spun the Etihad Commodore into the path of Jason Bright.
While Owen was able to continue, the incident left the two Holdens stranded on the circuit with major damage – ensuring Patrizi, Bright and 26th placed runner David Wall would be the first three cars eliminated under the ‘drop zone’ format.
According to the offical timing, Wall, Jonathon Webb, James Moffat and Fabian Coulthard had been the only four drivers to start the race on the hard compound tyres.
While Webb and Moffat found themselves in the second drop out group on Lap 4, Coulthard was able to remain on the circuit until the end of Lap 6, and will start this afternoon’s Race 2 from 18th position.
The long Safety Car for the Patrizi/Bright incident eventually saw the race reach its maximum time cut-off two laps short of the scheduled distance.
The lack of time ensured that Race Control did not deploy a ‘competition’ Safety Car after Lap 9.
The V8 Supercars will return to the Albert Park circuit for Race 2 at 1420.
See below for the full qualifying race result
|1||Orrcon Steel FPR Ford||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||11||28:23.6468|
|2||TeamVodafone||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VE2||11||28:24.0967|
|3||SP Tools Racing||Shane Van Gisbergen||Ford Falcon FG||11||28:27.5085|
|4||Trading Post FPR Ford||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG||11||28:28.3417|
|5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||11||28:29.8571|
|6||TeamVodafone||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VE2||11||28:30.2446|
|7||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||11||28:32.9743|
|8||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VE2||11||28:33.2731|
|9||Tony D’Alberto Racing||Tony D’Alberto||Ford Falcon FG||11||28:34.7413|
|10||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||11||28:35.1381|
|11||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Michael Caruso||Holden Commodore VE2||8||22:38.9487|
|12||Irwin Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Falcon FG||8||22:39.5060|
|13||Pepsi Max Crew||Greg Murphy||Holden Commodore VE2||8||22:40.3628|
|14||Lucky 7 Racing||Tim Slade||Ford Falcon FG||7||20:41.9052|
|15||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VE2||7||20:44.5098|
|16||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Alexandre Premat||Holden Commodore VE2||7||20:46.7417|
|17||Supercheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VE2||6||18:44.8369|
|18||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VE2||6||18:45.2528|
|19||Jim Beam Racing||Steven Johnson||Ford Falcon FG||6||18:45.5564|
|20||V.I.P. Petfoods||Steve Owen||Ford Falcon FG||5||16:46.8924|
|21||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Karl Reindler||Holden Commodore VE2||5||16:47.0411|
|22||Team iSelect||Taz Douglas||Holden Commodore VE2||5||16:47.2416|
|23||Jim Beam Racing||Dean Fiore||Ford Falcon FG||4||13:53.5366|
|24||Team Norton DJR||James Moffat||Ford Falcon FG||4||13:54.5482|
|25||Tekno Autosports||Jonathon Webb||Holden Commodore VE2||4||13:56.9255|
|26||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Holden Commodore VE2||3||9:07.0262|
|DNF||Tekno Autosports||Michael Patrizi||Holden Commodore VE2||1||2:12.5962|
|DNF||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VE2||1||2:12.8358|
See below for Speedcafe.com’s Australian Grand Prix Race Guide