Mark Winterbottom gives Ford a win in the non-championship qualifying race at Albert Park
|By Matt Beer||Friday, March 16th 2012, 01:26 GMT|
Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom took victory in the qualifying race that kicked off V8 Supercars' non-championship event on the Australian Grand Prix support bill in Melbourne.
In an unusual rules twist for this race, the three cars running at the tail of the field on each lap from laps three to eight had to retire to leave a 10-car shoot-out over the final three laps of the event, which set the grid for race two later today.
Shane van Gisbergen thrust his Stone Brothers Ford past front row men Jamie Whincup (Triple Eight Holden) and Winterbottom into the first corner, but both would pass him before the opening lap was over, with Winterbottom emerging in the lead.
A lap two tangle between Michael Patrizi and Steve Owen, which also collected Jason Bright, caused a three-lap safety car period, after which Winterbottom and Whincup broke away from the field, with the reigning champion pressuring the Ford man to the flag, but to no avail.
Van Gisbergen lost third to Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander just before the safety car, but regained it when Tander slid off the road and fell to eighth three laps from the end.
In a strong start to the weekend for FPR, Winterbottom's stablemates Will Davison and David Reynolds completed the top five, ahead of Craig Lowndes in the second Triple Eight car, Rick Kelly (Kelly Holden) and Tander.
Results - 11 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Mark Winterbottom FPR Ford 28m23.6468s 2. Jamie Whincup Triple 8 Holden + 0.4499s 3. Shane van Gisbergen Stone Brothers Ford + 3.8617s 4. Will Davison FPR Ford + 4.6949s 5. David Reynolds Rod Nash/FPR Ford + 6.2103s 6. Craig Lowndes Triple 8 Holden + 6.5978s 7. Rick Kelly Kelly Holden + 9.3275s 8. Garth Tander HRT Holden + 9.6263s 9. Tony D'Alberto D'Alberto Ford + 11.0945s 10. Todd Kelly Kelly Holden + 11.4913s Did not finish: Michael Caruso Garry Rogers Holden 8 laps Lee Holdsworth Stone Brothers Ford 8 laps Greg Murphy Kelly Holden 8 laps Tim Slade Rosenberg/SBR Ford 7 laps James Courtney HRT Holden 7 laps Alexandre Premat Garry Rogers Holden 7 laps Russell Ingall Walkinshaw Holden 6 laps Fabian Coulthard Brad Jones Holden 6 laps Steven Johnson Dick Johnson Ford 6 laps Steve Owen Dick Johnson Ford 5 laps Karl Reindler Kelly Holden 5 laps Taz Douglas Dumbrell Holden 5 laps Dean Fiore Triple F Ford 4 laps James Moffat Dick Johnson Ford 4 laps Jonathon Webb Tekno Holden 4 laps David Wall Britek/BJR Holden 3 laps Michael Patrizi Tekno Holden 1 lap Jason Bright Brad Jones Holden 1 lap