Making his mark
- By Kassie Gadeke
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
2015 V8 Supercars Champion Mark Winterbottom has taken out a thrilling victory in Perth - his first win since Sandown last year and making him the eighth different winner for 2016.
Just 0.3sec separated him from second placed Scott McLaughlin, who was fighting for the lead while fending off Craig Lowndes on an alternate strategy in the closing laps.
Lapped Aaren Russell meant Frosty’s work was cut out for him, as the challengers bunched up behind for an intriguing finish – but the champ came through at a circuit he is often strong at.
Abrasive Barbagallo Raceway always throws up questions of tyres and strategy, but the two-stopper proved the winner for The Bottle-O Falcon.
“That’s awesome, I thought we were in trouble at the start of that race with a set of tyres short,” Winterbottom said.
“My engineer Jason Gray said, 'we’re doing it', I questioned him ... we fought hard to the end, Scotty drove hard but clean and was probably nice to me too.”
McLaughlin’s GRM team also played the two stop strategy and drove superbly to keep veteran and Saturday winner Craig Lowndes behind him in the final stages.
Shane van Gisbergen was home fourth, with Rick Kelly completing the top five.
While the Nissan led for a time, a short fuel stop equalled out when he took his third stop.
Pole man Chaz Mostert finished sixth, while yesterday’s pole sitter Cameron Waters had a huge lock up and run off that triggered Lowndes’ third stop but no Safety Car.
The result leaves Lowndes as Championship leader, ahead of Jamie Whincup who finished 11th.
The V8 Supercars hit the track again from May 20-22 for the Woodstock Winton SuperSprint.