Winterbottom takes fifth victory in Townsville
Prodrive Racing Australia’s Mark Winterbottom has continued his impressive run of form taking back-to-back wins at the Castrol Edge Townsville 400. A late charge by HRT driver James Courtney saw the former champion steal second place from David Reynolds in the dying stages of the race.
A pass for the lead with eighteen laps to go sealed the win for Pepsi Max racer, team mate David Reynolds locking up and going wide at the turn two hairpin after struggling for grip on the softer compound tyre.
After taking pole position earlier in the day Scott McLaughlin looked odds on for a strong finish, however the young Kiwis racer was curtailed just twenty laps into the race with a mechanical failure; bringing out the first and only safety car of the race.
Fellow Kiwi Fabian Coulthard found himself in trouble with the stewards, a pit lane infringement resulting in a pit lane drive through penalty. The poorly timed safety car meant Coulthard couln’t immediately serve the penalty, the Kiwi falling to the back of the field on the restart as he served his penalty.
It seemed the roles had reversed from Saturdays race with Reynolds leading team mate Witnerbottom as the pit sequence cycled through. The pairing left to fight for victory, nearest rivals Tander and Courtney some ten seconds behind.
With eighteen laps remaining, and Winterbottom hot on the heels of Reynolds, a lock up by the Bottle’O driver saw Reynolds surrender the lead. Winterbottom then gapped Reynolds eventually securing a five second win.
After jostling for position with team mate Garth Tander, James Coutrney moved his way into third before quickly setting after Reynolds, a pass with just two laps to go securing Courtney a podium position.
Winterbottom’s win sees the Prodrive Racing Australia driver extend the lead to second placed Craig Lowndes to two hundred and forty eight points, with the best of the Kiwis Fabian Coulthard close behind in second.
“That was an awesome race, the car earlier on hards wasn’t the best then the guys did a tweak in the pit stop and it was a rocket at the end,” said Winterbottom.
“To do that many laps on the softs and to not only get one win but to get two over two days, that’s awesome.”
The V8 Supercar Championship now moves to Queensland Raceway for the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint on July 31-August 2.