Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom won race two of the FAustralian V8 Supercar round at Symmons Plains, despite race-long pressure from his pursuers.
In what proved to be a crucial move, Winterbottom retook the lead at the end of the back straight after the fast right sweeper, having lost out to Bright off the line. But the damp track saw him run wide into the entry of the left-hander at the end of the straight.
Winterbottom and Bright made contact, the duo running wide, allowing Craig Lowndes to get alongside Winterbottom through the next left, but Winterbottom hung on around the outside to retake the lead as they started lap two. From there, he came under pressure from Bright and Paul Dumbrell throughout the race, but they couldn't get past.
Second for Dumbrell saw him record his best-ever finish in V8 Supercar, not quite able to pass his teammate but resisting Jason Bright who ran second before the final round of pit stops. The two Paul Morris cars of Russell Ingall and Greg Murphy continued their strong weekend in fourth and fifth places, Ingall having spent 35 laps on Murphy's bumper after the first safety car period before finally passing him after Murphy was balked by a backmarker.
Garth Tander finished sixth, with Todd Kelly, Fabian Coulthard, Steven Richards and Lee Holdsworth completing the top 10.
Of the top three in the championship before the race, championship leader James Courtney ended the race best placed, in 12th position, moving ahead of teammate Steven Johnson on the final lap. After qualifying 21st, he showed speed in the early laps to move up to 14th before the first safety car. But just before the safety car came out, he ran into the back of Lee Holdsworth, Holdsworth going off and losing six place. Just before the third safety car, Courtney was given a drive-through penalty, but had to wait until after the restart to take the penalty, dropping as low as 22nd before climbing back to 12th by the finish.
After what looked like a dark day for Courtney and a bright one for Team Vodafone after qualifying, by race end it was a different matter. Lowndes was running second when on lap 4, his gear shifter pulled out of the floor of his car. It was repaired, but it happened again and having lost too many laps, his day was over.
Teammate Jamie Whincup's day didn't end much better, despite running in the top ten throughout the race and looking set for fifth with just over ten laps remaining. But an issue at his previous pit stop meant he didn't have enough fuel to make the finish, and the stop for fuel dropped him to 15th from where he was unable to improve.
Pre-race, the top three of Courtney, Lowndes and Whincup looked set to move closer together. Even in the closing stages of the race Whincup looked set to retake the lead from Courtney. Instead, Courtney's lead over Whincup grows by 9 points to 50, with race winner Mark Winterbottom leapfrogging Lowndes to take over third place, 200 points behind Courtney, Lowndes now 257 points with 600 points up for grabs in the final four races.
Pos Driver Make Time
1. Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 1h25m58.9978s
2. Paul Dumbrell Ford Falcon FG + 0.7509s
3. Jason Bright Holden Commodore VE + 1.2891s
4. Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE + 3.2280s
5. Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE + 14.6524s
6. Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE + 15.5314s
7. Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 20.9148s
8. Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VE + 22.0601s
9. Steven Richards Ford Falcon FG + 22.6186s
10. Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE + 23.2824s
11. Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG + 24.6185s
12. James Courtney Ford Falcon FG + 36.4829s
13. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG + 36.8571s
14. Karl Reindler Holden Commodore VE + 37.0547s
15. Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VE + 41.3131s
16. Jonathon Webb Ford Falcon FG + 41.9211s
17. Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE + 1 lap
18. Tim Slade Ford Falcon FG + 1 lap
19. Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG + 1 lap
20. Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE + 1 lap
21. Warren Luff Holden Commodore VE + 1 lap
22. Jason Richards Holden Commodore VE + 3 laps
23. Dean Fiore Ford Falcon FG + 5 laps
24. Tony D'Alberto Holden Commodore VE + 8 laps
25. Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 15 laps
Driver Make Laps
Tony Ricciardello Holden Commodore VE 48
Will Davison Holden Commodore VE 32
Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VE 17
Andrew Thompson Holden Commodore VE 15