Darwin win best V8 moment for Winterbottom

ED JACKSON
Last updated 20:42 22/06/2014
Mark Winterbottom
Getty Images
HAPPY MAN: V8 Supercars leader Mark 'Frosty' Winterbottom.

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Ford's Mark Winterbottom has hailed his victory in Sunday's 200km race in Darwin as his best V8 Supercars' moment.

The Ford Performance Racing star climbed from 10th off the grid to claim his fourth win of the season and extend his championship lead to 161 points.

Choosing to start on grippier soft compound tyres enabled the 2013 Bathurst champion to charge through the field early.

A safety car 25 laps into the 69-lap race threatened to scupper his strategy but Winterbottom held firm, claiming the victory despite a last-lap battle with a fast-finishing Shane van Gisbergen.

The win means Winterbottom, whose 101-point lead had been whittled down to just 65 following Saturday's pair of 100km races, heads to the next round in Townsville with an extended margin.

''Incredible race, I think that's the best moment I've had with my team,'' he said.

''Bathurst last year was huge but to hold on, that was a really cool win. It's hard to do and all the boys, they count down the laps - 10, nine, eight, all the way to one - it's pretty intense.''

Van Gisbergen rebounded from a poor outing in Perth last month to secure second while defending champion Jamie Whincup backed up his two wins on Saturday with a third.

That result has lifted Whincup above Fabian Coulthard and into third on the championship standings, 186 points behind Winterbottom.

Chasing a fourth-straight title, Whincup was pleased to be firmly back in the championship hunt.

''All in all, a good weekend for us on both compounds - we've got some work to do but, all in all, good weekend and we've made a step up from Perth,'' Whincup said.

Lowndes, who started the race from pole position, could only come in 17th after puncturing a front tyre during an incident with  Ford's Chas Mostert midway through the race.

It was also a tough day for Holden's Coulthard, whose championship hopes took a hit as he finished 22nd following a bungled decision to pit during the safety car period.

The New Zealander drops to fourth on the standings, 247 points behind Winterbottom.

The next stop in the V8 Supercars championship is the Townsville 500 from July 4-6.

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- AAP

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