Winterbottom wins Surfers race four

Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom capped off a near-perfect weekend with victory in race four of the Nikon SuperGP at Surfers Paradise

Winterbottom wins Surfers race four

After pole position in the shootout and a win and two seconds in the first three races, Winterbottom led for most of the final race to take his second victory of the weekend.

Garth Tander and James Courtney were close behind Winterbottom throughout the race but just weren't quite quick enough to challenge him or each other. Fourth for Jason Bright was a continuation of his result from race three, where he charged up from 20th to eighth, moving up four more places in the final race of the weekend.

Right behind him was Steven Johnson and Jamie Whincup, who, along with his team, put in a remarkable performance to fix his heavily damaged car and then charge through the order from 23rd on the grid.

However, the result didn't come without incident, with a pass on Jason Bargwanna for ninth resulting in contact between the cars, Bargwanna then losing control of his car on the exit of the corner, hitting Steven Richards, ending both Bargwanna and Richards's races, with possible repercussion yet to come for Whincup.

His team-mate Craig Lowndes was also involved in controversy, not all of his own making however. At the start, Lowndes was passed by Winterbottom and Ingall, but went in deep at the first chicane, locking his brakes and hitting Ingall, who also had locked his brakes, with Lowndes and Tander also making contact as Lowndes tried to save the car.

Ingall spun to a standstill as the rest of the field went left, on the track, and right, taking a shortcut through the chicane, to avoid the stationary car. Lap two saw the safety car deployed for no obvious reason, but it then became apparent why it had taken to the track.

It had been apparently decided and explained at the pre-event drivers' briefing that if an incident occurred at the start and cars took a shortcut through the first chicane, the safety car would be deployed and the field lined back up in original grid order.

Ingall had been forced to pit with water leaking from his car, and fell off the lead lap as his car was repaired.

Where would he start now? Somewhat sensibly, he started at the rear of the field, but several drivers lost ground from where they had been before the safety car went out.

Winterbottom went from first to second despite having been ahead of Lowndes well before the incident started, while further back one of the biggest losers was Whincup, who had moved from 23rd to 15th only to have to move back to 22nd (with Ingall starting at the back).

Things became even more confusing when Lowndes was penalised for his incident at the first chicane which had led to the safety car, Lowndes being penalised for an incident which in some ways had been considered not to have occurred due to the effective voiding of the start with the decision to reshuffle to the grid order.

At the end of a an up and down weekend for many of the drivers, Whincup's lead over Davison has shrunk from 93 points to just 32 points with 900 points still up for grabs, with Garth Tander closing in on the leading duo as well, now 289 points behind Whincup, while Lowndes is 141 points behind Tander and the only other driver still in serious contention.

Pos Driver Make Time 1. Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 1:16:02.2312 2. Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE + 2.5753 3. James Courtney Ford Falcon FG + 5.9212 4. Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG + 9.6030 5. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG + 9.8360 6. Jamie Whincup Ford Falcon FG + 10.2290 7. Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE + 11.3055 8. Jason Richards Holden Commodore VE + 12.6586 9. Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 12.9420 10. Will Davison Holden Commodore VE + 14.0830 11. Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG + 15.4270 12. Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE + 15.8665 13. Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon FG + 22.6679 14. Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE + 25.4378 15. Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 26.3950 16. Tony D'Alberto Holden Commodore VE + 28.7487 17. Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG + 30.9953 18. Jack Perkins Holden Commodore VE + 31.3396 19. Dean Fiore Holden Commodore VE + 39.9250 20. Paul Dumbrell Holden Commodore VE + 40.1567 21. Tim Slade Holden Commodore VE + 41.2039 22. Mark McNally Holden Commodore VE + 59.5607 Not classified/retirements: Driver Make Laps Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE 16 Steven Richards Ford Falcon FG 16 David Reynolds Holden Commodore VE 13 Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE 7 
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