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Melbourne V8 Supercars: Fabian Coulthard takes first victory

Fabian Coulthard leads Melbourne V8 race 2013Fabian Coulthard claimed his maiden V8 Supercars victory in the opening race of the non-championship event supporting the Australian Grand Prix.

The 30-year-old Holden driver converted his first pole position into the lead at the start of the 12-lap race.

But his hopes of winning took a big hit when he lost the lead during the flurry of safety car pitstops triggered by Alex Premat crashing at Turn 1 on the second lap after hitting Lee Holdsworth's Erebus Mercedes as both were exiting the pits.

At the lap five restart, Tekno Autosports Holden driver Shane van Gisbergen led, chased by Brad Jones Racing's Jason Bright, who had qualified second but started fourth after a penalty for completing a lap after the chequered flag in Thursday practice, and Triple 8's Craig Lowndes.

Coulthard took the restart fourth, but it did not take him long to dispatch Lowndes, passing him up the inside into Turn 3 moments after the green flag flew.

Two laps later Coulthard passed team-mate Bright into Turn 3 to take second and immediately set about carving into van Gisbergen's lead.

He quickly caught van Gisbergen, who held firm until the penultimate lap when his compatriot finally managed to prise open the door into Turn 3, passing him on the inside.

Bright attempted to follow Coulthard through, but was unable to, only to be gifted second place when van Gisbergen's Holden retired later that lap with gearbox issues.

Will Davison, FPR Ford, Melbourne V8 Supercars 2013Will Davison had a relatively quiet run to third, but behind him Jamie Whincup prevailed in a fraught late-race battle with team-mate Lowndes to take fourth, with the pair at one stage making contact on the run out of Turn 10.

Lowndes held on to fifth by the slenderest of margins, with both Scott McLaughlin and Mark Winterbottom pulling alongside him as he took the chequered flag.

Further back, Nissan got two cars in the top 10, as James Moffat and Rick Kelly took eighth and 10th.

Coulthard's victory gives him an early lead in the quadruple-header event, with the overall event winner decided based on points awarded in each race.

Results - 12 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team/Car                      Time/Gap
 1.  Fabian Coulthard     Brad Jones Holden          25m14.8756s
 2.  Jason Bright         Brad Jones Holden            + 1.7467s
 3.  Will Davison         FPR Ford                     + 4.6233s
 4.  Jamie Whincup        Triple 8 Holden              + 6.4004s
 5.  Craig Lowndes        Triple 8 Holden              + 7.1534s
 6.  Scott McLaughlin     GRM Holden                   + 7.1716s
 7.  Mark Winterbottom    FPR Ford                     + 7.2767s
 8.  James Moffat         Nissan                       + 8.4223s
 9.  Garth Tander         HRT Holden                  + 14.3048s
10.  Rick Kelly           Nissan                      + 14.5232s
11.  James Courtney       HRT Holden                  + 15.5583s
12.  Todd Kelly           Nissan                      + 15.7877s
13.  Jonothan Webb        Tekno Holden                + 15.9691s
14.  David Reynolds       Rod Nash/FPR Ford           + 18.1643s
15.  Tim Blanchard        DJR Ford                    + 19.2969s
16.  Michael Caruso       Nissan                      + 22.3795s
17.  Russell Ingall       Walkinshaw/HRT Holden       + 23.0977s
18.  Dean Fiore           Dumbrell Holden             + 23.2954s
19.  Lee Holdsworth       Erebus Mercedes             + 26.1491s
20.  David Wall           Britek/BJR Holden           + 26.5788s
21.  Alex Davison         Schwerkolt/FPR Ford         + 27.5962s
22.  Scott Pye            Dumbrell Holden             + 28.6292s
23.  Tim Slade            Rosenberg/Erebus Mercedes   + 29.9848s
24.  Maro Engel           Erebus Mercedes             + 34.2795s
25.  Jonny Reid           DJR Ford                    + 40.2330s


     Shane van Gisbergen  Tekno Holden                   10 laps
     Alexandre Premat     GRM Holden                       1 lap
     Tony D'Alberto       D'Alberto Holden                0 laps
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