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Winterbottom wins again in third V8s qualifying race at Melbourne

Melbourne V8s crashMark Winterbottom continued his winning streak in the V8 Supercars' non-championship outing at Melbourne by sealing victory in a chaotic race three.

The race was marred by opening lap carnage which involved five cars and brought about a lengthy safety car, which also served to reduce the race to a seven-lap sprint.

Reigning champion, Triple 8's Jamie Whincup, was one of the casualties as he was tagged by James Courtney on the entrance to Turn 3.

With Whincup stranded, Karl Reindler, David Wall, Taz Douglas and Russell Ingall were all caught up in the resulting melee. Alexander Premat's Garry Rodgers Holden was also damaged.

When the race was eventually restarted Winterbottom - who had lost the lead on the original start - maintained his advantage, leading Shane van Gisbergen's Stone Brothers Ford.

Winterbottom and a gaggle of cars dived into the pits on the first lap, leaving Davison and Fabian Coulthard (Brad Jones Holden) fighting for the lead.

The pair eventually pitted at the end of lap six, with Davison emerging behind Winterbottom and just ahead of Garth Tander's HRT Holden. The latter attacked immediately and forced his way through on the final lap to earn second, with Davison taking third.

Van Gisbergen, Coulthard and Lee Holdsworth (Stone Brothers Ford) rounded out the top six.

The results from the three qualifying races will be used to determine the grid for Sunday's final, for which a prize fund of AUS$500,000 will be available.

Results - 7 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team/Car                 Time/Gap
 1.  Mark Winterbottom    FPR Ford              42m52.4637s
 2.  Garth Tander         HRT Holden              + 3.3263s
 3.  Will Davison         FPR Ford                + 3.9944s
 4.  Shane van Gisbergen  Stone Brothers Ford     + 4.2781s
 5.  Fabian Coulthard     Brad Jones Holden       + 6.0485s
 6.  Lee Holdsworth       Stone Brothers Ford     + 6.5757s
 7.  Craig Lowndes        Triple 8 Holden         + 7.1249s
 8.  Todd Kelly           Kelly Holden            + 9.7695s
 9.  Greg Murphy          Kelly Holden           + 11.0348s
10.  David Reynolds       Rod Nash/FPR Ford      + 11.7263s
11.  James Courtney       HRT Holden             + 11.7438s
12.  Michael Patrizi      Tekno Holden           + 16.7504s
13.  Jason Bright         Brad Jones Holden      + 17.0374s
14.  Tony D'Alberto       D'Alberto Ford         + 17.1287s
15.  Steven Johnson       Dick Johnson Ford      + 17.3295s
16.  Michael Caruso       Garry Rogers Holden    + 17.5272s
17.  Tim Slade            Rosenberg/SBR Ford     + 17.7626s
18.  James Moffat         Dick Johnson Ford      + 19.0139s
19.  Steve Owen           Dick Johnson Ford      + 20.5330s
20.  Jonathon Webb        Tekno Holden           + 23.4998s
21.  Dean Fiore           Triple F Ford          + 24.6085s
22.  Rick Kelly           Kelly Holden           + 24.7408s
23.  Jamie Whincup        Triple 8 Holden        + 38.5354s

Did not finish:

     Alexandre Premat     Garry Rogers Holden        0 laps
     Karl Reindler        Kelly Holden               9 laps
     Russell Ingall       Walkinshaw Holden          0 laps
     David Wall           Britek/BJR Holden          0 laps
     Taz Douglas          Dumbrell Holden            0 laps

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Van Gisbergen wins race four
Winterbottom makes it two from two
Winterbottom wins qualifying race
Whincup seals Albert Park pole