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Hidden Valley V8 Supercars: Mark Winterbottom wins race three

Mark Winterbottom held off a last lap charge from Shane van Gisbergen to win the third Hidden Valley V8 Supercars race of the weekend, an event dominated by myriad strategy variations.

Winterbottom came from 10th on the grid to lead the race in the first stint, as he started on the favourable soft tyres. It looked at first that the Triple Eight Holden of Jamie Whincup would be Winterbottom's closest competitor at the end, but it was van Gisbergen.

The Kiwi spent most of the race in relative obscurity, but he made the most of his strategy and passed second-placed Whincup with less than five laps to go. He erased Winterbottom's two-second lead, but even a last corner lunge could not give him a victory.

Whincup finished on the podium, after appearing to let van Gisbergen past towards the end of the race in hope that he would steal some points from Winterbottom, the championship leader.

A perfectly timed safety car for the stricken Volvo of Robert Dahlgren just after the halfway point of the race should have played into the hands of Whincup, as it erased the gap to the leaders he had incurred for running on the slower hard tyre at the start of the race.

However, despite winning the first two races of the weekend, he lacked the pace to launch an attack on the lead and had to settle for a podium spot.

David Reynolds took an impressive fourth, as he led the majority of the first half of the race, but did not look after his tyres as well as Ford Performance Racing stable-mate Winterbottom, and fell out of contention after the final round of pitstops.

Following Reynolds were James Courtney, Garth Tander, James Moffat and a fighting Scott McLaughlin, who like van Gisbergen spent a lot of the race lost in strategy, but drove a hard final stint to earn eighth.

Whincup's team-mate and polesitter Craig Lowndes had been on the same strategy and was ahead of Whincup after the safety car, but contact with Ford's Chaz Mostert gave him a flat left front tyre, and forced him to make an unscheduled pitstop. He could only manage 17th.

Results - 69 laps:

Pos Driver               Team/Car                    Time/Gap
 1. Mark Winterbottom    FPR Ford                    1h27m20.3007s
 2. Shane van Gisbergen  Tekno Holden                +0.5346   
 3. Jamie Whincup        Triple Eight Holden         +5.4899   
 4. David Reynolds       Rod Nash/FPR Ford           +10.8704  
 5. James Courtney       HRT Holden                  +14.8247  
 6. Garth Tander         HRT Holden                  +17.3536  
 7. James Moffat         Nissan                      +18.0312  
 8. Scott McLaughlin     GRM Volvo                   +27.1742  
 9. Rick Kelly           Nissan                      +30.3585  
10. Russell Ingall       Dumbrell Holden             +34.4546  
11. Dale Wood            Britek/BJR Holden           +35.3378  
12. Lee Holdsworth       Erebus Mercedes             +38.9707  
13. Michael Caruso       Nissan                      +39.6810  
14. Scott Pye            Dick Johnson Ford           +40.8246  
15. Chaz Mostert         FPR Ford                    +48.2264  
16. Will Davison         Erebus Mercedes             +50.1643  
17. Craig Lowndes        Triple Eight Holden         +50.6726  
18. David Wall           Dick Johnson Ford           +58.7642  
19. Tim Slade            Rosenberg/HRT Holden        +1m06.5035s
20. Jason Bright         Brad Jones Holden           -1 lap 
21. Jack Perkins         Schwerkolt/FPR Ford         -2 laps 
22. Fabian Coulthard     Brad Jones Holden           -2 laps
23. Nick Percat          Walkinshaw/HRT Holden       -4 laps
    Todd Kelly           Nissan                      35 laps
    Robert Dahlgren      GRM Volvo                   22 laps

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