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Winton V8 Supercars: Fabian Coulthard claims first win of 2014

Fabian Coulthard scored his first win of the 2014 V8 Supercars season after a dominant display in the first race of the Winton weekend.

The in-form Kiwi - who smashed the old qualifying lap record to claim pole position - made a great getaway off the line and held off fellow countryman Shane van Gisbergen and current championship leader Craig Lowndes.

Coulthard then began to pull away from the chasing pack and was the best part of three seconds ahead before the safety car was deployed on lap 16 of 34 because of Scott McLaughlin's stricken Volvo.

The race resumed three laps later before two incidents involving Chaz Mostert, Tim Slade and James Courtney, and then rookie Nick Percat and David Reynolds at Turns 2 and 7 respectively.

Those melees resulted in the second safety car period which lasted until lap 22, but it was not long until it was back out again when Todd Kelly came to a halt at Turn 3.

The final 10 laps were uninterrupted, however, and Coulthard managed to retain his lead until the finish to claim his first win of the season.

Van Gisbergen held off surprise qualifying star Dale Wood who put in an exceptional effort to start and finish third.

The 2013 Dunlop Series champion fended off Jason Bright and Lee Holdsworth in the dying moments of the race, while Will Davidson had Mark Winterbottom ever present in his mirrors.

Winterbottom had a disastrous qualifying session and started 24th, but he managed to pick his way through the field and also benefitted from the mid-race scuffles to take seventh.

Lowndes' charge fizzled out in the closing laps and he eventually finished eighth, ahead of Triple Eight team-mate Jamie Whincup who was rather anonymous throughout the race.

Results - 34 laps:                                             
Pos  Driver               Team/Car                     Time/Gap
 1.  Fabian Coulthard     Brad Jones Holden         53m03.9676s
 2.  Shane van Gisbergen  Tekno Holden                 +5.0197s
 3.  Dale Wood            Britek/BJR Holden           +10.9246s
 4.  Jason Bright         Brad Jones Holden           +13.7479s
 5.  Lee Holdsworth       Erebus Mercedes             +14.2459s
 6.  Will Davison         Erebus Mercedes             +17.0852s
 7.  Mark Winterbottom    FPR Ford                    +19.5586s
 8.  Craig Lowndes        Triple Eight Holden         +23.7499s
 9.  Jamie Whincup        Triple Eight Holden         +25.7400s
10.  Russell Ingall       Dumbrell Holden             +29.4675s
11.  David Reynolds       Rod Nash/FPR Ford           +34.0476s
12.  Chaz Mostert         FPR Ford                    +35.5102s
13.  David Wall           Dick Johnson Ford           +35.9935s
14.  Scott Pye            Dick Johnson Ford           +38.6656s
15.  Garth Tander         HRT Holden                  +40.8135s
16.  Jack Perkins         Schwerkolt/FPR Ford         +41.2883s
17.  Todd Kelly           Nissan                      +41.4788s
18.  James Moffat         Nissan                      +42.3641s
19.  Michael Caruso       Nissan                      +43.5667s
20.  Rick Kelly           Nissan                      +50.9604s
21.  Nick Percat          Walkinshaw/HRT Holden       +53.1940s
James Courtney HRT Holden 19 laps Tim Slade Rosenberg/HRT Holden 19 laps Scott McLaughlin GRM Volvo 6 laps Robert Dahlgren GRM Volvo 0 laps
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Winterbottom wins Winton race three
Holdsworth wins for Erebus Mercedes