Motorsport: 'Frosty' extends lead in V8s

Mark Winterbottom came back from 10th on the grid with some superb driving in Darwin. Photo / Getty Images
Mark Winterbottom came back from 10th on the grid with some superb driving in Darwin. Photo / Getty Images

A bold tyre strategy and some superb defensive driving have allowed Ford's Mark (Frosty) Winterbottom to extend his V8 Supercars championship lead.

Winterbottom overcame a poor qualifying display to win yesterday's 200km race at Hidden Valley in Darwin, climbing from 10th on the grid to secure his fourth win of the year.

Fast-finishing Kiwi Shane Van Gisbergen threatened to snatch the lead on the final lap of 69 but Winterbottom held off the Holden driver to claim victory.

Holden's Jamie Whincup, a double race winner on Saturday, finished third.

Having come into the Northern Territory with a 101-point lead over Holden's Craig Lowndes, Winterbottom is now 161 points ahead going into the next round in Townsville.

Lowndes, who had earlier secured his first pole in Darwin since 2000, finished a lowly 17th after damaging a tyre following contact with Ford's Chaz Mostert midway through the race.

Whincup moved up to third on the championship standings, leaping above Fabian Coulthard after the New Zealander struggled to a 22nd-place finish and the defending V8s champion is 186 points behind Winterbottom. Whincup won both 100km races on Saturday from pole position to reignite his bid for a fourth straight title.

He was barely challenged by his rivals in either race, leading from start to finish in both.

After not winning a race since the Tasmania 400 in March, Whincup refused to get too carried away by his dramatic return to form.

"I won't go making any big statements," he said.

"It was refreshing. We had plenty of room for improvement, without doubt.

"The question is, can we continue this for the rest of the year?"

Teammate Lowndes capped his 40th birthday by finishing second in both races.

Standings
1 Mark Winterbottom 1451
2 Craig Lowndes 1290
3 Jamie Whincup1265
4 Fabian Coulthard 1204
5 James Courtney1120
6 Shane Van Gisbergen 1111
7 Scott McLaughlin 1045
8 David Reynolds 952
9 Chaz Mostert 914
10 Jason Bright 881

-AAP

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