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V8 Supercars Winton: Winterbottom beats title rival Whincup to pole

Mark Winterbottom WintonMark Winterbottom gave his slim V8 Supercars title hopes a boost by beating championship leader Jamie Whincup to pole position at Winton.

The Ford Performance Racing man jumped to the top of the timesheets for the first time with nine minutes of qualifying remaining, setting a 1m23.1443s that would ultimately prove unmatched.

It was far from comfortable however, with the field all pitting for fresh rubber in the final minutes.

On his last lap Whincup, victorious in all three races last time out on the Yas Marina circuit, managed to better Winterbottom's benchmark in the opening sector, only to lose time across the rest of the lap.

He ended the session 15 hundredths of a second shy of pole, although he did at least have the comfort of securing a front row berth.

Brad Jones Holden's Jason Bright will start one spot further back in third, after a blazing final lap earned him a fourth top-three grid slot of the season.

It also moved him ahead of Stone Brothers Ford man Shane van Gisbergen, who had been fastest at the midway point.

James Moffat (Dick Johnson Ford) finished fifth ahead of Lee Holdsworth, Fabian Coulthard and James Courtney.

As Winterbottom and Whincup locked out the front row, their respective team-mates Will Davison and Craig Lowndes struggled.

Fourth and third in the championship, the pair fell as other made late improvements and eventually found themselves demoted to a share of the eighth row - Lowndes starting one spot ahead of Davison in 15th.

Pos  Driver               Team/Car             Time        Gap
 1.  Mark Winterbottom    FPR Ford             1m23.1443s
 2.  Jamie Whincup        Triple 8 Holden      1m23.3019s  + 0.1576s
 3.  Jason Bright         Brad Jones Holden    1m23.4422s  + 0.2979s
 4.  Shane van Gisbergen  Stone Brothers Ford  1m23.4505s  + 0.3062s
 5.  James Moffat         Dick Johnson Ford    1m23.4879s  + 0.3436s
 6.  Lee Holdsworth       Stone Brothers Ford  1m23.5808s  + 0.4365s
 7.  Fabian Coulthard     Brad Jones Holden    1m23.5875s  + 0.4432s
 8.  James Courtney       HRT Holden           1m23.5963s  + 0.4520s
 9.  Rick Kelly           Kelly Holden         1m23.6066s  + 0.4623s
10.  David Reynolds       Rod Nash/FPR Ford    1m23.6139s  + 0.4696s
11.  Garth Tander         HRT Holden           1m23.6523s  + 0.5080s
12.  Tony d'Alberto       D'Alberto Ford       1m23.6613s  + 0.5170s
13.  Steve Owen           Paul Morris/DJR Ford 1m23.6889s  + 0.5446s
14.  Michael Caruso       Garry Rogers Holden  1m23.6918s  + 0.5475s
15.  Craig Lowndes        Triple 8 Holden      1m23.7115s  + 0.5672s
16.  Will Davison         FPR Ford             1m23.7301s  + 0.5858s
17.  Alexandre Premat     Garry Rogers Holden  1m23.7865s  + 0.6422s
18.  Tim Slade            Rosenberg/SBR Ford   1m23.7993s  + 0.6550s
19.  Jonathon Webb        Tekno Holden         1m23.8601s  + 0.7158s
20.  Taz Douglas          Dumbrell Holden      1m23.8697s  + 0.7524s
21.  Karl Reindler        Kelly Holden         1m23.9085s  + 0.8362s
22.  Russell Ingall       Walkinshaw Holden    1m24.0059s  + 0.8606s
23.  David Wall           Britek/BJR Holden    1m24.0319s  + 0.8867s
24.  Michael Patrizi      Tekno Holden         1m24.0370s  + 0.8927s
25.  Dean Fiore           Triple F/DJR Ford    1m24.1116s  + 0.9637s
26.  Greg Murphy          Kelly Holden         1m24.1197s  + 0.9754s
27.  Steven Johnson       Dick Johnson Ford    1m24.1386s  + 0.9943s
28.  Tim Blanchard        Kelly Holden         1m24.2173s  + 1.0730s
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Whincup secures title, Lowndes wins
Whincup takes narrow Winton pole
Whincup wins Winton opener