V8 Supercars – Winterbottom Claims Race Win, Whincup In Charge Of Championship

October 23, 2011

V8 Supercars

Mark  Winterbottom stole Jamie Whincup’s thunder at the Armor All Gold Coast  600 with his first V8 Supercar victory of the year and also the maiden win for  Irishman Richard Lyons.


Winterbottom ran almost the perfect  race with Lyons, who stepped up for Will Power following the tragic crash that  claimed the life of Dan Wheldon a week ago; overtaking Whincup is the closing  stages.


In front of a massive 181,000 people  over the weekend GRM pair Lee  Holdsworth and Frenchman Simon Pagenaud were third behind the  pairing of Whincup and another Frenchman Sebastian Bourdais who won the Dan  Wheldon International Driver trophy.


It was a long overdue victory for  Winterbottom in an up and down season, particularly with the soft tyres that his  Orccon FPR Falcon has struggled with all year.


“Richard did a great job,” Winterbottom said.


“To sit in the garage and watch him  do what he does there was never a doubt. It’s probably one of the best wins for  the team, we bounced back better than we every have  before.


“That’s how I have to race the rest  of the year, it’s about winning races. It was always going to be a good battle  with Jamie but we weren’t going to let it go.”


Lyons was in Japan last  weekend. When Power withdrew because of the crash and related  injuries Lyon took two seconds to say  yes to the drive.


“I just can’t believe how the week  has turned around,” Lyons said. “It has been an opportunity with a  team I have wanted to run with for so long. To come out the other side with a  win and two podiums was fantastic.”


Bourdais was the best performed  international driver just ahead of Lyons. It was particularly touching for  Bourdais and Pagenaud who were both competing at the Las Vegas race that took  Wheldon’s life.


“These are the toughest trophies to  receive,” Bourdais said.


“There are a lot of memories that  come back and you can’t help but put yourself in the same situation. I can  relate to it very well because I have two kids pretty much the same age. It  makes it that much harder.


“But in racing life goes on. We just  wanted to put on the best show possible this weekend. It was a great success, a  great event once again but for sure it was a little tougher than it needed to  be.”


Fellow Frenchman Pagenuad echoed  Bourdais.


“What happened last weekend was very  tough for all of us in racing,” he said. “We all knew Dan and especially  Sebastian and I racing in IndyCar. This was a good distraction for us being  here. Surfers Paradise to me is the best street  circuit in the world and the best show in the world.”


Whincup now holds an authoritative  Championship lead over team-mate Lowndes.


“It’s unbelievable how things can  turn around in a couple of weeks,” said Whincup. “This time two weeks ago I was  pretty down. This week was about coming here and having fun. I’ve been very  lucky with my co-drivers at the last three events as  well.”


“There are still three events to go  and we are in a good position.”


It was again a frustrating day for  Lowndes and Andy Priaulx who had to ‘stack’ a pit stop following a safety car,  losing him some 10 places from second. The safety car came right at the fuel  window meaning TeamVodafone had little choice but to stop both  cars.


An accident during the safety car  period was simply bizarre. Italian Gianni Morbidelli had spun on the track and  was directed to go against the traffic to spin the car around. Going the wrong  way, he got back to the corner as Jason  Bright approached.


Bright took evasive action to  minimise the contact when confronted by Morbidelli going the wrong way but both  cars ended up badly damaged. It appeared that Morbidelli was waved to go the  wrong way by an official.


Rounding out the top ten were  Rick Kelly/Jorg Bergmeister, James  Courtney/Darren Turner, Steve  Owen/Boris Said, Russell  Ingall/Jan Magnussen, Jonathon Webb/Gil De Ferran,  Todd Kelly/Richard Westbrook and  Tim Slade/Helio  Castroneves.


After starting from the front of the  grid the #2 Toll HRT Commodore of Garth  Tander/Ryan Briscoe was out of contention early with a broken  axle. The pair finished 23rd and 20 laps down.

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