Winterbottom, Lyons Win Gold Coast 600
Mark Winterbottom and Richard Lyons gave Ford Performance Racing its first win of the 2011 Australian V8 Supercars Championship at Surfers Paradise Sunday via a late-race pass in the Armor All Gold Coast 600.
Winterbottom, co-driver of the No. 5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon, out-braked the race-leading No. 88 TeamVodafone Holden Commodore of Jamie Whincup and Sebastien Bourdais with eight of the race’s 102 laps remaining in South East Queensland during the season’s 22nd event.
After finishing third in Saturday’s race, the FPR pair continued their strong soft tire form to charge ahead of pole-sitters Whincup and Bourdais in the final 300-kilometer segment.
The combined results from the weekend’s two races saw Bourdais, a former Champ Car World Series champion, earn the inaugural Dan Wheldon Trophy as the event’s top International Driver. The award was instituted this week to honor the memory of Wheldon, the two-time/reigning Indianapolis 500 winner and 2005 IZOD IndyCar Series champion who was fatally injured at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16.
Funeral services for Wheldon, 33, who was scheduled to compete at Surfers Paradise, were conducted Saturday in his adopted hometown of St. Petersburg, Fla. A memorial service has been scheduled by INDYCAR officials for Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis.
Seemingly content to extend his championship lead, Whincup cruised home to finish second at Surfers, while Lee Holdsworth, Greg Murphy, Rick Kelly, James Courtney, Steve Owen, Russell Ingall, Todd Kelly and Tim Slade rounded out the top 10.
The issue of curb-hopping dominated the race, with the new-for-this-weekend bollard and sensor combination proving highly controversial. Several cars received drive-through penalties during the race’s first stint, prior to the electronic sensors being turned off in the chicane areas of the street circuit. With teams and drivers unsure of the change, confusion reigned as drivers began almost straight-lining the Turn 1-2-3 and 6-7-8-9-10 chicanes.
In a repeat of Saturday’s opening race, Bourdais led from pole position and was not passed for the duration of his stint. A tremendous start from fifth on the grid saw Andy Priaulx jump to second at the first corner, with the Briton dropping just 2.6-seconds to Bourdais before the Frenchman pitted when the driver-change window opened on Lap 34.
Priaulx headed to the pits to be replaced by Whincup one lap later, with the team deciding to short-fuel the No. 888 Holden to return Craig Lowndes to the track marginally in front. Whincup was soon back ahead thanks to a move at Turn 12 on Lowndes’ out-lap, while Winterbottom was a full 20-seconds behind the squabbling Vodafone entries by the time the Safety Car appeared for debris on Lap 44.
While the leading contenders did not pit under yellow, Mika Salo brought the Trading Post FPR Falcon into the pits to hand over to Will Davison. The Finn had endured a left-front puncture while running in fourth position on Lap 32, two circuits shy of his minimum required distance.
Whincup continued to hold Lowndes and Winterbottom at bay after the restart, with strong opening stints from their respective co-drivers seeing Murphy, Holdsworth and Alex Davison filling the remainder of the top six.
The front-runners used the race’s second Safety Car appearance on Lap 54 to make their second and final stops, with Lowndes the big loser – falling to 12th place – having been forced to line up behind teammate Whincup. The five-time Bathurst 1000 winner struggled for speed during the remainder of the race and eventually finished 20th, thanks in part to a drive-through for not respecting the track limits.
Jason Bargwanna and Davison assumed the top two spots having decided to not pit during the Safety Car period, but found themselves well outside the top 10 by time they made their final stops on Laps 84 and 87, respectively.
The race’s third stint was all about the battle between Whincup and Winterbottom, with the Ford driver taking more liberties with the curbing than his rival as he looked for a way to pass. Despite encouragement from engineer Mark Dutton to use more curb on the backstraight chicane, Whincup finally succumbed to his rival at Turn 11 on Lap 94.
Holdsworth and Murphy fought a similarly spirited battle for third, with the Fujitsu and Pepsi Max backed Commodore trading positions several times over the final 50 laps.
Rick Kelly and Jorg Bergmeister stayed out of trouble to take fifth in the No. 15 Jack Daniel’s Commodore, while James Courtney had to be content with sixth after co-driver Darren Turner received a contentious curb hopping drive-through towards the end of his stint.
The Borris Said/Steve Owen, Jan Magnussen/Ingall and Richard Westbrook/Todd Kelly Commodores also received penalties (all three for diving infringements) on their way to seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively. Three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves and Tim Slade took 10th despite breaking an anti-roll bar early.
Five cars failed to finish the race, with the James Moffat/American Joey Hand and Marino Franchitti/Warren Luff entries both enduring mechanical issues.
Team BOC’s day ended thanks to an unfortunate incident with the WesTrac Falcon at Turn 12, Gianni Morbidelli making head-on contact with the No. 8 Commodore while looking for a place to turn around following a spin.
The day’s hardest luck story belonged to The Bottle-O Racing, which saw its International Driver, Christian Klien, make heavy contact with the outside wall at the back chicane following contact with Magnussen on the opening lap.
Front-row starters Ryan Briscoe, Castroneves’ Team Penske teammate, and Garth Tander also had a difficult run with the Toll HRT Commodore breaking an axle during the IndyCar driver’s opening stint. With the axle replaced, the pair finished 20 laps down in 23rd position.
The V8 Supercars Championship continues in three weeks at the Symmons Plains circuit in Tasmania.
Sunday Race – Armor All Gold Coast 600
1. No. 5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon: Mark Winterbottom/Richard Lyons , Ford Falcon FG
2. No. 88 TeamVodafone: Jamie Whincup/Sebastien Bourdais, Holden Commodore VE2
3. No. 33 Fujitsu Racing GRM: Lee Holdsworth/Simon Pagenaud, Holden Commodore VE2
4. No. 11 Pepsi Max Crew: Greg Murphy/Oliver Gavin, Holden Commodore VE2
5. No. 15 Jack Daniel’s Racing: Rick Kelly/Jorg Bergmeister, Holden Commodore VE2
6. No. 1 Toll Holden Racing Team: James Courtney/Darren Turner, Holden Commodore VE2
7. No. 49 VIP Petfoods: Steve Owen/Boris Said, Holden Commodore VE2
8. No. 39 Supercheap Auto Racing: Russell Ingall/Jan Magnussen , Holden Commodore VE2
9. No. 7 Jack Daniel’s Racing: Todd Kelly/Richard Westbrook, Holden Commodore VE2
10. No. 47 Lucky 7 Racing: Tim Slade/Helio Castroneves, Ford Falcon FG
11. No. 16 Stratco Racing: David Reynolds/Alex Tagliani, Holden Commodore VE2
12. No. 17 Jim Beam Racing: Steven Johnson/Dirk Mueller, Ford Falcon FG
13. No. 19 Mother Energy Racing Team: Jonathon Webb/Gil de Ferran, Ford Falcon FG
14. No. 6 Trading Post FPR Falcon: Will Davison/Mika Salo, Ford Falcon FG
15. No. 61 Bundaberg Racing: Fabian Coulthard/Patrick Long, Holden Commodore VE2
16. No. 9 SP Tools Racing: Shane Van Gisbergen/Emanule Pirro, Ford Falcon FG
17. No. 14 Jana Living Racing: Jason Bargwanna/Allan Simonsen, Holden Commodore VE2
18. No. Irwin Racing: Alex Davison/Marc Lieb, Ford Falcon FG
19. No. 3 Wilson Security Racing: Tony D’Alberto/Vitantonio Liuzzi, Ford Falcon FG
20. No. 888 TeamVodafone: Craig Lowndes/Andy Priaulx, Holden Commodore VE2
21. No. 34 Fujitsu Racing GRM: Michael Caruso/Augusto Farfus Jr., Holden Commodore VE2
22. No. 21 Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing: Karl Reindler/Fabrizio Giovanardi, Holden Commodore VE2
23. No. 2 Toll Holden Racing Team: Garth Tander/Ryan Briscoe, Holden Commodore VE2
DNF No. 18 Jim Beam Racing: James Moffat/Joey Hand, Ford Falcon FG
DNF No. 12 Westrac Racing: Dean Fiore/Gianni Morbidelli, Ford Falcon FG
DNF No. 8 Team BOC: Jason Bright/Stephane Sarrazin, Holden Commodore VE2
DNF No. 30 Gulf Western Oil Racing: Marino Franchitti, Holden Commodore VE2
DNF No. 55 The Bottle-O Racing Team: Paul Dumbrell, Ford Falcon FG
Driver Point Standings
1. Jamie Whincup 2,517
2. Craig Lowndes 2,374
3. Shane van Gisbergen 2,009
4. Mark Winterbottom 1,966
5. Garth Tander 1,956
6. Will Davison 1,847
7. Rick Kelly 1,845
8. Lee Holdsworth 1,590
9. Alex Davison 1,535
10. Jason Bright 1,519
11. Greg Murphy 1,516
12. Steven Johnson 1,480
13. Tim Slade 1,475
14. Fabian Coulthard 1,446
15. James Courtney 1,317
16. Michael Caruso 1,282
17. Steve Owen 1,280
18. Russell Ingall 1,196
19. David Reynolds 1,192
20. Jason Bargwanna 1,154
21. Jonathon Webb 1,118
22. James Moffat 1,115
23. Todd Kelly 1,073
24. Paul Dumbrell 1,012
25. Tony D’Alberto 877
26. Karl Reindler 868
27. Dean Fiore 863
28. Warren Luff 654No Comment