Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew FPR, Ford) won his first Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, beating Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Racing Australia, Holden) to the finish line by 0.47 sec. Winterbottom and co-driver Steven Richards also delivered FPR its first Bathurst win. Ford had announced its continued support of the team the day before. The win was Richards’ third at Bathurst.
“Today was just unbelievable,” said Winterbottom. “The way the race unfolded and to win it the way we did and alongside Richo just makes it that more special. Doing it with this team and Ford is a reward for a lot of people for many years of hard work. The response on the podium was just ridiculous – to see all those fans and the sea of blue Ford flags, to hear them chanting ‘FPR’ was something I will never forget.
“The team has been written off a few times but today was the ultimate way to bounce back and prove our doubters wrong. The final few laps were incredibly close and on the last lap I knew if I could hold the inside line at Turn 2 I would be ok.”
“Then coming down Conrod Straight I knew we had won the race, I knew it was ours so that was a really sweet moment. I really can’t say enough about Steve and his effort today. He was happier in the car than me today and drove incredibly well. To win the Peter Brock Trophy with him and FPR after so many years of trying is the best thing ever.”
The last 20 laps of the race were intense, with the fight for third also hotly contested, between Whincup’s Red Bull teammate Craig Lowndes, Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team), and Jason Bright (Team BOC, Holden). In the end, Lowndes and co-driver Warren Luff prevailed to take the final step on the podium, followed by Tander and Nick Percat.
“We had a great race today and a really good battle in the closing stages of the race,” said Tander. “Compared with where our car was at the start of the week, it really came alive in that last section of the race. The boys did a great job and unfortunately we came up just short – bring on the Gold Coast!”
Lee Holdsworth and Craig Baird (Irwin Racing) were the highest placed Mercedes-Benz in 14th, and James Moffat/Taz Douglas (Norton Hornets) the first Nissan home in 18th.
There were just two safety car periods in the 161-lap race, one early on when Jack Daniel's Nissan driver David Russell hit a kangaroo, and mid-way when four-time winner Greg Murphy (Holden Racing Team) hit the wall, ending his and James Courtney's day.
Whincup continues to lead the championship, ahead of Lowndes, Winterbottom, Winterbottom’s teammate Will Davison, and Fabian Coulthard (Lockwood Racing, Holden).
Click here for full results.