Fighting top 10 for Winterbottom and Youlden at Bathurst
Frosty finishes 9th after a deflated tyre
Mark Winterbottom and Luke Youlden put in a determined effort to fight their way back into the top ten during a challenging day in the 2010 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama today.
Winterbottom, who stole the show yesterday when he claimed pole position for Australia’s Great Race, led the field away this morning before pitting aboard the Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon for the first time on lap 26.
The duo maintained their position near the front of the field for the opening half of the race and appeared to be on track for a top result until disaster struck on lap 72. Youlden was sent into a spin due to a delaminated right rear tyre as he negotiated the Cutting section of the circuit. As a result he made heavy impact with the concrete barrier but luckily was able to limp back to the pits where the FPR crew quickly assessed the situation and allowed Winterbottom to return to the circuit.
After returning to the track in 21st position Winterbottom and Youlden clawed their way back into contention for a top ten result courtesy of some impressive car speed and good strategy from the Orrcon Steel-backed Ford Performance Racing crew.
With 11 laps remaining in the 161-lap journey Winterbottom found his way back inside the top ten before crossing the line in ninth spot, a position that could have been higher if it wasn’t for a late race safety car period that allowed some of the drivers in front of him to conserve fuel.
Like their team-mates Steve Richards and James Moffat endured a challenging time behind the wheel of the Orrcon Steel-backed Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon.
After starting in 14th spot Richards pitted early on lap 16, which put him off sequence with the majority of the field but in a good position for late in the race.
On lap 101 Richards reported a vibration that forced him to complete an unscheduled pit stop. Despite the set-back the pair still charged on with their sights set on finishing inside the top ten before crossing the line 11th.
Today’s race was completed in record time with only four safety car periods slowing the field. The first of which will go down as one of the most spectacular of all-time with Fabian Coulthard barrel rolling at high speed entering the fastest part of the circuit. He emerged unscathed but his $400,000 V8 Supercar was severely wrecked.
Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup led home team-mates Jamie Whincup and Steve Owen to make it a one-two for the first time since 1984. Garth Tander and Cameron McConville finished third.
With eight races left in the chase for the championship James Courtney remains in the points lead on 2323 points ahead of Whincup (2198) and Lowndes (2039). Winterbottom is fourth on 2030 with Richards 18th.
The next event on the championship calendar is the Armor All Gold Coast 600 in two weeks time (October 22-24).
QUOTES FROM THE DRIVERS
Mark Winterbottom – #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon
"I'm disappointed obviously, the Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon was great yesterday and really good this morning but it looks like it has bent a bit of steering on the car from when Luke went in with the blown tyre," said Winterbottom.
"We're always coming in a good position here and something goes wrong but it was a good fightback to come back through and get a top ten - which is still an achievement around this place. Towards the end the car was far from flash and I was fighting with understeer - add to that fading brakes towards the end and it was a tough car to drive.
"All FPR cars finished so there are some positives. When you look at it and what could have been it is a disappointment hasn't ended up too bad as you come to this place to win.
"We still got some points to make sure the championship is still alive but a good result here would have really put some pressure on Jamie (Whincup) and James (Courtney). With them finishing right up there it definately hurts the points tally a bit. I think I had the speed to beat james but who knows about Whincup.
"We now really need to finish off the year strongly and hope that we can get a top result in a couple of weeks time on the Gold Coast."
Luke Youlden – #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon
"The way that the Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon hit the wall we were lucky to get away with it. It was a pretty hard hit, so to still finish let alone finish inside the top ten is unbelievable," said Youlden.
"A result like today really makes you hungrier to want to come back and do better next year. This is such a tough place. I'm not sure what Frosty has done but he never seems to have any luck around here.
"Everytime you leave here without the trophy, especially when you have the speed to match it up the front of the field, makes you want the win even more. Hopefully next year is our year."
Steve Richards – Orrcon Steel-backed #6 Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon
"It was a bit of a tough day but that's the way it goes," said Richards.
"A top ten was about the best that we had today. We battled away there and did the best we could in the circumstances and there was one unscheduled stop when I got a vibration in the car but apart that it all sort of worked out ok.
"If the last safety car didn't happen we were probably looking good for a top five given our fuel strategy."
James Moffat – Orrcon Steel-backed #6 Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon
"It's really a bit of a relief if anything, to get my first Bathurst 1000 out of the way. It would have been nice to sneak in the top ten but 11th in debut is a pretty pleasing result," said Moffat.
"It was a bit of a weird race with not many safety cars which not alot of people probably thought would happen. I think that last safety car probably hurt us because I reckon there was preobaby two or three cars ahead of us that were a bit marginal on fuel and we were ok so we might have picked up a couple more there.
"We now have to move on to next year and aim for bigger and better things."
Event 10 of the 2010 V8 Supercar Championship Series
Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000
RESULTS: 2010 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000
1. #888 Craig Lowndes/Mark Skaife 161 laps
2. #1 Jamie Whincup/Steve Owen
3. #2 Garth Tander/Cameron McConville
4. #14 Jason Bright/Matt Halliday
5. #18 James Courtney/Warren Luff
6 . #51 Greg Murphy/Allan Simonsen
7. #33 Lee Holdsworth/David Besnard
8. #39 Russell Ingall/Paul Morris
9. #5 Mark Winterbottom/Luke Youlden
10. #34 Michael Caruso/Greg Ritter
11. #6 Steve Richards/James Moffat
V8 Supercar Championship Series Points Standings
After Race 18 of 26
1. James Courtney 2323
2. Jamie Whincup 2198
3. Craig Lowndes 2039
4. Mark Winterbottom 2030
5. Garth Tander 1938
6. Shane Van Gisbergen 1773
7. Rick Kelly 1688
8. Lee Holdsworth 1631
9. Michael Caruso 1514
10. Paul Dumbrell 1440
18. Steve Richards 1051