With the Australian V8 Supercar Championship tighter than ever, it was vital for Mark Winterbottom and James Courtney to take the final wins in Sunday’s two races.
With the current championship leader Jamie Whincup having a horrific weekend at Winton Raceway, rivals Mark Winterbottom and James Courtney were able to close the championship gap by taking the two race wins.
Sunday’s first race saw Jason Bright take pole position, but this did not stop Winterbottom from taking his first race win on home soil at Winton.
Behind the leaders, Alexandre Prémat caused a multi-car accident when rejoining the track at Turn 2, and with championship leader Whincup involved in the accident, he later failed to finish the race.
Others involved in the accident were Russell Ingall, Alex Davison, Garth Tander and Michael Caruso.
The safety car entered the track after the accident, making the dash to the finish close between Winterbottom and Bright, crossing the line 0.4s apart.
Winterbottom failed to qualify at the front of the field for the second race of the day, giving Courtney pole position for the finale.
Courtney managed to take the win, holding first for the entire 34-lap race, with a safety car coming in to play with 10 laps to go.
Young gun Chaz Mostert held second for most of the race, but had to settle for third after Fabian Coulthard took a gamble and put on new tyres during the safety car.
The race was filled with accidents, with Todd Kelly crashing out on the pit-straight at the start of the race, after receiving contact from the front of Whincup’s car, causing the first safety car.
Scott Pye once again had dramas, with the eKol Holden catching fire due to a bent exhaust.
Rick Kelly followed his brother’s suit, after causing contact with Winterbottom at the Turn 5 sweeper, causing damage to his rear suspension and bringing out the second safety car.
Craig Lowndes later received a 25-point penalty for making contact with Caruso’s Nissan, causing him to fall from second to fourth in the championship, with teammate Whincup holding onto the current series lead.
The next round of the championship will be held at Sandown Raceway, starting the season of endurance races.
Current Championship Standings
1 Jamie Whincup 1847
2 Will Davison 1792
3 Mark Winterbottom 1777
4 Craig Lowndes 1775
5 Fabian Coulthard 1709
6 James Courtney 1687
7 Jason Bright 1649
8 Shane Van Gisbergen 1632
9 Garth Tander 1602
10 Scott McLaughlin 1318
11 Jonathon Webb 1282
12 David Reynolds 1222
13 James Moffat 1155
14 Rick Kelly 1101
15 Alex Davison 1080
16 Tony D’Alberto 1015
17 Alexandre Premat 899
18 Chaz Mostert 892
19 Russell Ingall 839
20 Tim Slade 821
21 Dean Fiore 820
22 Michael Caruso 809
23 David Wall 785
24 Tim Blanchard 703
25 Todd Kelly 689
26 Scott Pye 649
27 Lee Holdsworth 635
28 Maro Engel 576
29 Jonny Reid 149
– See more at: http://fiascosports.com/winterbottom-and-courtney-tighten-championship-at-winton/#sthash.0yCb1m7b.dpuf