Ford Performance Racing's (FPR) Mark Winterbottom put in another dominant display in Darwin by claiming pole position and leading all but the last few laps of the race until a multi-car incident six laps from home dropped him down the field.
Winterbottom claimed provisional pole in qualifying and then claimed pole position by a mere 0.005s from series leader Jamie Whincup in a closely contested top 10 shootout.
The factory Ford driver then made a rapid start and held a comfortable lead in the opening part of the race.
He continued to lead when the safety car was deployed on lap 10 and the entire field pitted for fuel and tyres.
Once racing resumed, the driver of the #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon pulled away from Whincup in second and was holding top spot until another safety car was deployed on lap 35.
When action resumed one lap later Winterbottom was pushed wide by Whincup on the restart and the pair charged down the 1.1-kilometre front straight side-by-side.
The slight delay for Winterbottom allowed a number of other drivers to challenge for the lead into turn one and when the lead pack charged into the first turn the Orrcon driver's Ford was one of a number of cars to be pushed off the track.
Although he only suffered minor damage the incident dropped Winterbottom from the lead to 15th - a disappointing end to a dominant drive.
Team-mates Will Davison and Paul Dumbrell endured a challenging run in qualifying with Davison only setting the 20th-best time after running off the track on his final hot lap.
Dumbrell made the top 10 shootout but also ran off the circuit at the same point as Davison and started the race 10th after failing to record a time.
The drama continued for Dumbrell at the start when he ran off the circuit when trying to avoid making contact with Rick Kelly. He returned to the track ahead of the pack and after redressing his position he spent most of the race around the top 10.
Davison gained ground at the start and a quick call into the pits when the first safety car was deployed gained him seven spots and pushed him into the top 10.
He was one of the few drivers to avoid the late-race turn one melee and vaulted to fifth - 15 places higher than where he started.
Dumbrell was not so lucky and like Winterbottom was spun, dropping him to 20th by the chequered flag.
Mark Winterbottom – #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon
Qualifying: 1st - 1m09.21s
Top 10 Shootout: 1st - 1m09.16s
Race 12: 15th - Fastest lap: 1m11.26s
Championship position: 10th - 857 points
"Today was back to what we should be doing. We had the car to win today and it is really disappointing we didn't get to finish the job. The shootout was exciting and it was great to pole position. From there I had a great start and dictated terms in the race. The final safety car was always going to cause issues as they released it a bit too late and the rest is history. Going into turn one was just chaos but we will fix the car and get back into it tomorrow. We have good car speed so we should be back at the front. It is a real credit to the team as everyone has worked really hard and they deserved to taste the champagne today. They've worked really hard in the last few weeks, we did everything but win it so we should be happy with what the car is doing. We are back where we belong and I think we will be a contender now."
Will Davison – #6 Trading Post FPR Falcon
Qualifying: 20th - 1m09.86s
Top 10 Shootout: N/A
Race 12: 5th - Fastest lap: 1m12.06s
Championship position: 7th - 924 points
"What a day. I was really mad at myself after qualifying as I made an error when the car was clearly good enough for pole. I made a good start though what made the big difference is when the team called me into the pits just before the safety car came out. I gained a heap of ground and that made the difference. When the race restarted the car balance wasn't ideal but we were around the top 10. I then gained a number of spots on the crazy final restart. I took a hit which bent the steering, though we carried on and came away with fifth. If we can get a good result in qualifying tomorrow then we should score another good result."
Paul Dumbrell – #55 The Bottle-O FPR Falcon
Qualifying: 9th - 1m09.64s
Top 10 Shootout: 10th - no time
Race 12: 20th - Fastest lap: 1m11.52s
Championship position: 18th - 569 points
"We certainly had a bit of an adventure with Rick (Kelly) on the first lap and we avoided a major kafuffle when I took to the grass to avoid what would have been a fairly major accident. The car was reasonable on the first set of tyres though the second set was nowhere near as good and I started to suffer near the end. On the final restart Michael Caruso turned me around and that was the end of our day really. We will use parts of the set-up that clearly worked so well today on car 5 and see if that can help move us further up than today."
Tim Edwards - FPR Team Principal:
"Today was a day of mixed emotions. Mark again showed why he is the man to be here at Hidden Valley. His qualifying effort was brilliant, truly one of the best performances over one lap. He then made the most of it in the race and was utterly dominant throughout until the unfortunate incident on the last restart. We can discuss why it happened and who was at fault for as long as we like but it won't change the result. The team deserved better than 15th. On the flip side Will never gave up despite the challenges put in front of him and his fifth place was just reward. PD was another unfortunate victim in the restart chaos. We showed today what our cars as capable of so we will be looking to make amends tomorrow."
2011 V8 SUPERCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
RACE 12 - RESULTS:
1) Rick Kelly - Kelly Racing
2) Steve Johnson - Dick Johnson Racing
3) Craig Lowndes - Triple Eight
4) Lee Holdsworth - Garry Rogers Motorsport
5) Will Davison - Ford Performance Racing
15) Mark Winterbottom - Ford Performance Racing
20) Paul Dumbrell - Ford Performance Racing
2011 V8 SUPERCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
DRIVER POINTS AFTER RACE 12
1) Jamie Whincup - Triple Eight: 1318 points
2) Craig Lowndes - Triple Eight: 1101
3) Rick Kelly - Kelly Racing: 1037
4) Shane van Gisbergen - Stone Brothers Racing: 1009
7) Will Davison - Ford Performance Racing: 924
10) Mark Winterbottom - Ford Performance Racing: 857
18) Paul Dumbrell - Ford Performance Racing: 569
2011 V8 SUPERCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
TEAM POINTS AFTER RACE 12
1) Triple Eight: 2419 points
2) Stone Brothers Racing: 1882
3) Ford Performance Racing: 1781