Mostert and Winterbottom dominate opening races at Winton
Prodrive Racing Australia’s Chaz Mostert and Mark Winterbottom have taken dominant victories in race one and two respectively at Victoria’s Winton Motor Raceway.
Mostert signalled his intentions early on in proceedings taking back to back pole positions for race one and two, whilst Winterbottom qualified fourth and second for the two races.
Mostert made a good start to hold top spot heading into the opening corners. But Winterbottom who’d started fourth had already moved his way past fellow PRA driver David Reynolds and Nissan Motorsport’s Michael Caruso.
The twenty three year old then began to gap his teammate extending his lead to over a second by the end of lap one.
After bringing out the red flag in the opening qualifying session, Scott McLaughlin had been making good progress in the early stages of the race. By lap seven McLaughlin had already moved up four positions, however the Kiwi’s hard charge came to a halt when Dale Wood spun the Polestar Volvo at turn four.
With many in tyre conservation mode the final stanza of the race remained uneventful. Mostert continued to extend his lead over Winterbottom to three seconds with Caruso not far behind in third. Reynolds, Todd Kelly, Fabian Coulthard, Todd Kelly, Shane van Gisbergen, Jamie Whincup, and Nick Percat completed the top ten.
The second race of the day saw the two Prodrive Racing Falcon’s start alongside each other. This time however it was Winterbottom who led at turn one with Mostert falling to third behind Rick Kelly.
Unlike the first race the field was unable to make its way through the opening corners without incident as James Courtney took out teammate Garth Tander who subsequently made contact with Lee Holdsworth. Both Tander and Holdsworth forced to retire from the race.
"I thought I got a reasonable start. I copped an almighty whack and it damaged my steering straight away. It doesn't get any worse than that hopefully we come back pretty strong tomorrow,” said Holdsworth following the incident.
The drama continued to unfold when Ash Walsh appeared to make contact with Andre Heimgartner on the exit of turn two, sending the Kiwi into a spin and down the order.
After the dramatic and limited tyre usage for the weekend, former champ James Courtney completed the race on wet tyres in an effort to conserve for tomorrow’s longer race.
Despite an early challenge from Rick Kelly for the lead Winterbottom held onto the lead of the race eventually taking the win by just under a second. Fellow PRA drivers Mostert and Reynolds finished in third and fourth respectively with Shane van Gisbergen the best of the Kiwi’s in fifth.
“To win that race and obviously have tyres for tomorrow is a good thing. The car was really good in that last race, the guys worked really hard,” said Winterbottom.
“Any race win in a V8 Supercar is special, I’m glad Chazzy got his this morning and we capped it off today.”
Tomorrow’s running see’s one practice session followed by qualifying to determine the grid for the sixty seven lap feature race.