Winterbottom dominates opening day at Queensland
Mark Winterbottom has taken consecutive wins at Queensland Raceway today, further extending his championship lead over Craig Lowndes.
Starting from pole position Winterbottom leapt away from the field as Scott McLaughlin and Chaz Mostert squabbled for position. McLaughlin prevailed however holding fast to take second place at the flag.
The fight of the race came in the dying stages when the battle for third place between Shane van Gisbergen and Chaz Mostert began to heat up.
After an early fight saw van Gisbergen rub panels with Mostert, the Australian returned serve on the second to last lap putting van Gisbergen sideways on the final turn.
The Kiwi fought back coming across the nose of the Prodrive Racing Australia Falcon. The move however gave room for Craig Lowndes to move through passing both to ultimately take third place.
At the head of the field Winterbottom took a four second victory over McLaughlin to take his third straight win in the series.
The second race of the day saw Craig Lowndes start from pole position, however it was Mark Winterbottom again who found himself at the front of the field after ducking down the inside of Lowndes at turn two.
After a strong result in the opening race; race two was a stark contrast for van Gisbergen, the Kiwi failing to start the race with a suspected gearbox failure. The first and only safety car was then brought out to retrieve the stricken Commodore.
Winterbottom continued to lead on the restart but was unable to shake a hard charging Craig Lowndes.
Lowndes sat less than half a second off the back of Winterbottom for the final stanza of the race, but an off at turn one late in the race cost Lowndes any chance of a one hundred and first race victory.
“That was awesome, I got a really good start but Craig [Lowndes] obviously got a good one too,” said Winterbottom following the win.
“The over and under worked at turn one. My car wasn’t as quick as him [...] it’s all about track position so I’m really wrapped. It’s a great run we’re on at the moment; it’s just great to be a part of this team.”
Scott McLaughlin was the best of the New Zealand contingent in ninth with Coulthard and Heimgartner in sixteenth and eighteenth respectively.
Tomorrow sees just one sixty five lap race complete the weekend’s proceedings where Winterbottom will look to continue his strong run of form.