Winterbottom beats Courtney to Race 11 win

Mark Winterbottom took victory in Race 11

Mark Winterbottom took victory in Race 11

A strong start set up a second victory of the season for Mark Winterbottom and Ford Performance Racing in Race 11 at Pukekohe.

The #5 Falcon beat pole-sitter James Courtney to the first corner and was never headed for the remainder of the 100km race.

Winterbottom edged away before and after a mid-race Safety Car to take the flag two seconds clear of the Holden Racing Team Commodore.

With Craig Lowndes finishing 16th following a difficult qualifying session earlier in the afternoon, Winterbottom has closed to within 18 points of the championship leader.

“It was really good obviously the start was important to beat James off the line,” said Winterbottom afterward.

“To get the win is awesome and I put my hand up; I drove badly yesterday and I had a fair bit of redemption for the guys on the team.

“They were up all night changing bolts, uprights and rear-end (following a crash in Race 10 qualifying) and so it was awesome to turn it around with a win.”

Chaz Mostert added to FPR’s day by claiming his first podium for the factory Ford outfit in third.

The youngster had lost the position to Jamie Whincup off the start, but regained it when the Red Bull Holden slid wide off the final corner a short time later.

“I don’t think I have ever been so excited to see a third place finish,” smiled Mostert.

“It’s been a tough start to the year and to be on the podium with Frosty it’s fantastic for the team.”

Whincup eventually took fourth from Shane van Gisbergen, Scott McLaughlin, Nick Percat, David Reynolds, Garth Tander and Fabian Coulthard.

The second half of the top 10 provided much of the race’s entertainment.

Nick Percat held fifth early before losing places to Kiwis McLaughlin and Van Gisbergen.

Van Gisbergen’s Holden eventually proved too strong for McLaughlin’s Volvo, taking the position for good with eight laps to go before running through the back chicane, with no loss of position, several times in the closing stages.

The race’s most intense battle occurred early between Tim Slade and Jason Bright.

After several bouts of contact, a skirmish at the chicane resulted in broken suspension for the former and a drive-through penalty for the latter.

Bright pitted for fresh tyres under the Safety Car, called to retrieve Robert Dahlgren’s expired Volvo from the front straight, to rescue a 12th place finish.

A second 100km race will follow later this afternoon.

RESULTS: Race 11 – ITM 500 Auckland – Pukekohe Park Raceway

Position Car Driver Team Car
1   5  Mark Winterbottom  Ford Pepsi Max Crew  Ford Falcon FG
2  22  James Courtney  Holden Racing Team  Holden Commodore VF
3   6  Chaz Mostert  Ford Pepsi Max Crew  Ford Falcon FG
4   1  Jamie Whincup  Red Bull Racing Australia  Holden Commodore VF
5  97  Shane Van Gisbergen  Team Tekno VIP Petfoods  Holden Commodore VF
6  33  Scott McLaughlin  Valvoline Racing GRM  Volvo S60
7 222  Nick Percat  Walkinshaw Racing  Holden Commodore VF
8  55  David Reynolds  The Bottle-O Racing Team  Ford Falcon FG
9   2  Garth Tander  Holden Racing Team  Holden Commodore VF
10  14  Fabian Coulthard  Lockwood Racing  Holden Commodore VF
11  16  Scott Pye  Wilson Security Racing  Ford Falcon FG
12   8  Jason Bright  Team BOC  Holden Commodore VF
13   7  Todd Kelly  Jack Daniel’s Racing  Nissan Altima
14   4  Lee Holdsworth  Erebus Motorsport V8  Mercedes E63 AMG
15 360  James Moffat  Norton Hornets  Nissan Altima
16 888  Craig Lowndes  Red Bull Racing Australia  Holden Commodore VF
17  15  Rick Kelly  Jack Daniel’s Racing  Nissan Altima
18   9  Will Davison  Erebus Motorsport V8  Mercedes E63 AMG
19  23  Russell Ingall  Repair Management Aust Racing  Holden Commodore VF
20  36  Michael Caruso  Norton Hornets  Nissan Altima
21  21  Dale Wood  Team Advam/GB  Holden Commodore VF
22  18  Jack Perkins  Team JELD-WEN  Ford Falcon FG
DNF  34  Robert Dahlgren  Valvoline Racing GRM  Volvo S60
DNF  47  Tim Slade  Supercheap Auto Racing  Holden Commodore VF


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