Winterbottom scores back to back wins

Mark Winterbottom is in the box seat for a breakthrough Australian Grand Prix victory for the new FG-X V8 Supercar as he prepares to relaunch his Championship assault.

The man they call “Frosty" scored back to back wins in the first two of four races at this weekend’s Rolex Formula One Australian Grand Prix, assuming a points lead in the MSS Security Challenge.

But aside from race victories it was an even more promising sign for the FG-X, the very last Falcon, before the V8 Supercars Championship resumes in Tasmania in a fortnight.

Even better for Winterbottom was the three of the four other FG-X Supercars in the field were also very racey. His Pepsi Max team-mate Chaz Mostert was second once again while David Reynolds was strong in his brand new Bottle-O Falcon.

Shane van Gisbergen was third, following the same result for a second Holden driver James Courtney in the opening race earlier in the day.

“The first race was good, race two a bit closer," said Winterbottom. “It’s a great sign that we have got good car speed so Chaz and I could clear out which means you aren’t defending. But Shane was quite quick in the second race which made it harder."

First lap safety cars in both races made life a little harder for Winterbottom, although his hardest battle was keeping focused on the long grand prix circuit.

“It’s a shame that Chaz and I had such great starts but the safety car came out both times. It’s a two minute lap when it’s flying lap but five minutes under safety car. It’s not the most enjoyable part but the safety car is there for a reason I guess."

In the opening race Winterbottom won his first race since the Darwin event in 2014, leading home teammate Mostert by 1.73 seconds. He led from the front over the 12 laps, having broken Ford’s pole position drought yesterday, which stretched back to Phillip Island in 2013.

In the second fixture Winterbottom took control early and it wasn’t long before the Safety Car was called for Dale Wood’s crash, which involved Scott McLaughlin at the back of the pack.

As Wood’s GB Galvanizing Commodore was retrieved from turn seven, the clock ticked down to what would ultimately be a time certain finish.

After nine laps, and brief battles on the last dash to the line, the two FG X’s proved best once again.

Reprising their Clipsal 500 battle, van Gisbergen and James Courtney started side by side – but this time the kiwi didn’t mind muscling through.

Jamie Whincup came home fifth, with Rick Kelly first of the Nissans, Tim Slade, Fabian Coulthard, Garth Tander and Craig Lowndes top 10.

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