Motorsport: Winterbottom snatches win from McLaughlin

Mark Winterbottom driver of the #5 Pepsi Max Crew Ford celebrates after winning race 13 at the ITM 500. Photo / Getty Images.
Mark Winterbottom driver of the #5 Pepsi Max Crew Ford celebrates after winning race 13 at the ITM 500. Photo / Getty Images.

Ford's Mark Winterbottom has denied Kiwi youngster Scott McLaughlin a fairytale finish to his home round in Auckland with victory in the weekend's fourth and final V8 Supercars race.

Pole position holder McLaughlin was eyeing off Volvo's maiden championship win and his second at Pukekohe on Sunday, but had Winterbottom snatch it away from him with his flying Falcon in the 200km battle.

The reigning Bathurst winner started from fourth but crossed the line nearly seven seconds ahead of his 20-year-old rival, with teammate Chaz Mostert finishing third.

Holden's local hero Shane van Gisbergen and Nissan's Michael Caruso rounded out the top five.

Winterbottom's triumph followed his win and second-placing in Saturday's two sprint races, earning him the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy - awarded to the best overall driver of the round in honour of the late New Zealand racer.

The result has also extended his series lead to 107 points over Holden veteran Craig Lowndes.

"I made a bit of a bodgy start ... but my crew got me in front,'' the man known as `Frosty' said.

"I wanted to lead going away, not just last night. It's great.''

A win to McLaughlin would've seen history repeat itself - Volvo last won an Australian touring car championship race 28 years ago to the day - with a Kiwi at the helm, no less.

McLaughlin started from pole, his second of the weekend, but this time had the advantage of being the sole driver on the front row.

Tim Slade's Holden stalled moments before the race got underway and was forced to start from pitlane.

It left the path clear for the 20-year-old who, by lap two, held a one-second buffer.

But Winterbottom gradually chewed into his lead after the first round of pitstops - aided by an air hose that come off McLaughlin's helmet and appeared to distract the youngster.

Winterbottom eventually got the better of the S60 and took the lead in pitlane after a well-timed tyre change and fuel top-up.

Lowndes, meanwhile, came in at a lowly 20th, while his Red Bull teammate and defending champion Jamie Whincup finished 10th.

Whincup has not featured on the podium in seven straight races - his longest run without a place in the top three since 2006, his first season at Triple Eight.

The event attracted a bumper 128,255 fans across the Anzac Day long weekend.


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