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Winton V8 Supercars: James Courtney ends victory drought

James Courtney wins Winton V8 Supercars race 2013

James Courtney took his first V8 Supercars victory since the start of the 2011 season in the final race of the Winton weekend.

Courtney had led away from pole for Holden Racing Team, pulling a comfortable gap over Dick Johnson Racing's Chaz Mostert as the rookie resisted Will Davison.

The race only came alive in its final third. A clash between race two winner Mark Winterbottom, who had qualified badly, and Rick Kelly left the Nissan stuck in the infield mud, prompting a safety car.

Over half the field took the chance to pit for fresh tyres, leaving the top 11 on older rubber looking vulnerable going into the closing stages.

Another safety car, caused by front-row qualifier Jason Bright crashing out of fourth, then gave the new-tyre runners an even better shot at making progress.

Fabian Coulthard and Garth Tander led that charge. Coulthard grabbed third as Davison recovered from a trip over the grass in the closing laps, and then passed Mostert for second a few corners from the flag.

Courtney was 2.9 seconds clear though and secured his return to the top stop at last.

Mostert hung on to third by just 0.2s as Tander and Shane van Gisbergen exerted huge pressure on the run to the flag.

Davison came home sixth, which was still a boost to his title chances as after poor qualifying results Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup and Winterbottom could only manage 10th, 13th and 17th respectively.

Todd Kelly crash, Winton V8 Supercars 2013

Whincup was at the centre of first-lap drama when startline contact with Todd Kelly sent the Nissan flying across the grass (pictured) and into the infield wall.

That prompted the first of what would be three safety cars in the 34-lap race.

The lap one mess also resulted in Scott Pye parking his Holden in the pitlane on fire due to contact that damaged his exhaust.

Results - 34 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team/Car                      Time/Gap
 1.  James Courtney       HRT Holden                 55m19.8371s
 2.  Fabian Coulthard     Brad Jones Holden             +2.9514s
 3.  Chaz Mostert         Dick Johnson Ford             +4.5390s
 4.  Garth Tander         HRT Holden                    +4.7069s
 5.  Shane van Gisbergen  Tekno Holden                  +4.9677s
 6.  Will Davison         FPR Ford                      +6.0658s
 7.  David Reynolds       Rod Nash/FPR Ford             +6.6011s
 8.  James Moffat         Nissan                        +7.0447s
 9.  Tim Blanchard        Dick Johnson Ford             +8.7054s
10.  Craig Lowndes        Triple Eight Holden          +13.8165s
11.  Alexandre Premat     GRM Holden                   +14.1939s
12.  Alex Davison         Schwerkolt/FPR Ford          +14.5638s
13.  Jamie Whincup        Triple Eight Holden          +14.7093s
14.  Scott McLaughlin     GRM Holden                   +14.8928s
15.  Tim Slade            Rosenberg/Erebus Mercedes    +15.1191s
16.  Dean Fiore           Dumbrell Holden              +15.5293s
17.  Mark Winterbottom    FPR Ford                     +15.7081s
18.  David Wall           Britek/BJR Holden            +15.9286s
19.  Maro Engel           Erebus Mercedes              +16.6262s
20.  Lee Holdsworth       Erebus Mercedes              +19.0520s
21.  Tony D'Alberto       D'Alberto Holden             +24.1596s
22.  Jonathon Webb        Tekno Holden                 +42.7864s


     Michael Caruso       Nissan                         33 laps
     Jason Bright         Brad Jones Holden              25 laps
     Rick Kelly           Nissan                         21 laps
     Todd Kelly           Nissan                          0 laps
     Scott Pye            Dumbrell Holden                 0 laps
     Russell Ingall       Walkinshaw/HRT Holden              DNS
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