Mark Winterbottom takes Townsville double

Mark Winterbottom surged to another victory

Mark Winterbottom surged to another victory

Mark Winterbottom extended his V8 Supercars Championship lead with back-to-back victories at the Castrol Edge Townsville 400.

Winterbottom took the chequered flag in Sunday’s 200km finale three seconds clear of the Holden Racing Team’s James Courtney, who charged in the closing stages to demote long-time leader David Reynolds to third.

Starting from fifth after a lacklustre Shootout lap, an early first stop ultimately set up the win for Winterbottom as the bulk of the field again ran the conventional soft-hard-soft tyre strategy.

Making his first stop on lap 10 of 70, the #5 Ford continued to run fifth during the middle stint, before leaping into contention when the second stops unfolded just prior to halfway.

Winterbottom emerged on the tail of stablemate Reynolds and, with seven lap fresher tyres, applied consistent pressure to the race leader.

Reynolds eventually locked a tyre and ran wide at Turn 2 on lap 52, allowing Winterbottom to slip down the inside at the following corner.

“The car on hards wasn’t the best,” reflected Winterbottom afterward, “but the boys did a tweak in the pitstop and it was a rocket after that.”

Prodrive again appeared set for a one-two-three heading into the final 15 laps, before Chaz Mostert and then Reynolds were picked off by Courtney.

The 2010 champion was one of a handful to take advantage of a mid-race Safety Car to run a three-stop strategy, which ultimately helped his progression from 16th on the grid.

Courtney survived an intense dice with eventual fourth place finisher Garth Tander on his way through the field in the dying laps; the team-mates making minor contact during the fight.

Sixth place finisher Mostert had made his strategy play at the first stops, short-filling in an ultimately failed attempt to take the lead from Reynolds.

He eventually shook out from the second stops in third, but an early tyre lock-up hurt his progress to the chequered flag; allowing Courtney, Tander and eventually Jamie Whincup through.

Seventh through 10th at the flag were filled by Lee Holdsworth, Andre Heimgartner, Craig Lowndes and Todd Kelly.

The Safety Car had been called shortly after the first stops in order to retrieve debris from Scott McLaughlin’s Volvo, which spat a power steering belt on the way to retirement.

It was a miserable end for the pole-sitter, who had struggled to hold his own with the Prodrive entries in the early stages.

Fellow Kiwi Fabian Coulthard also struck trouble, finishing 13th after a penalty for an infringement at his first pitstop.

Result: V8 Supercars Race 17, Townsville

1 Pepsi Max Crew Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 70 01:30:50.2571
2 Holden Racing Team James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 70 01:30:53.1798
3 The Bottle-O Racing Team David Reynolds Ford Falcon FG/X 70 01:30:56.4196
4 Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 70 01:31:00.6737
5 Red Bull Racing Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 70 01:31:04.4173
6 Pepsi Max Crew Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 70 01:31:05.5174
7 Walkinshaw Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VF 70 01:31:05.9539
8 Super Black Racing Andre Heimgartner Ford Falcon FG/X 70 01:31:07.2702
9 Red Bull Racing Australia Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 70 01:31:10.5251
10 Nissan Motorsport Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 70 01:31:13.6358
11 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 70 01:31:14.4761
12 Team BOC Jason Bright Holden Commodore VF 70 01:31:14.7769
13 Freightliner Racing Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VF 70 01:31:16.7551
14 Supercheap Auto Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 70 01:31:17.4838
15 Repair Management Aust Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore VF 70 01:31:21.6206
16 Nissan Motorsport Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 70 01:31:21.9675
17 Nissan Motorsport James Moffat Nissan Altima 70 01:31:24.3523
18 GB Galvanizing Racing Dale Wood Holden Commodore VF 70 01:31:24.9305
19 DJR Team Penske Scott Pye Ford Falcon FG/X 70 01:31:26.3400
20 Team Darrell Lea STIX Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 70 01:31:33.6783
21 Team Cooldrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 70 01:31:36.2202
22 Wilson Security Racing GRM David Wall Volvo S60 70 01:31:53.3167
23 Erebus Motorsport V8 Ashley Walsh Mercedes E63 AMG 70 01:32:01.1038
24 Erebus Motorsport V8 Will Davison Mercedes E63 AMG 69 01:31:55.2162
DNF Wilson Security Racing GRM Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60 19    24:37.1206

Championship Standings

1 Mark Winterbottom 1465
2 Craig Lowndes 1217
3 Fabian Coulthard 1205
4 David Reynolds 1192
5 Chaz Mostert 1183
6 James Courtney 1175
7 Garth Tander 1086
8 Jamie Whincup 1074
9 Shane Van Gisbergen 1063
10 Rick Kelly  885
11 Todd Kelly  810
12 Michael Caruso  756
13 Jason Bright  751
14 Tim Slade  743
15 James Moffat  711
16 Will Davison  703
17 Scott McLaughlin  693
18 Nick Percat  683
19 Lee Holdsworth  665
20 Dale Wood  627
21 Scott Pye  575
22 Andre Heimgartner  548
23 Tim Blanchard  536
24 David Wall  525
25 Ashley Walsh  400
26 Marcos Ambrose  125

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