Ford Performance Racing?s Mark Winterbottom remains firmly in the championship battle heading to the season-ending Sydney 500 after second place at Phillip Island gave him vital points in what is brewing to be one of the fiercest title decider in recent times. Starting from pole he slipped to third early before re-passing fellow title contender Craig Lowndes and finishing a close second. Team-mate Will Davison did not enjoy the weekend he expected and while he gained five and four places respectively in the two Sunday races, his points deficit to leader Jamie Whincup is 223 with only 300 on offer at the Homebush finale.
In the day?s opening Winterbottom escaped unscathed from a turn one squeeze as the first lap charge saw him come off second-best from a four-wide battle. Minor bodywork damage slightly hindered his progress but he banked solid points directly ahead of Will Davison who had charged through from 13th.
Mark Winterbottom - #5 Pepsi Max FPR Ford:
Qualifying ? Race 33: 3rd
Race 33: 7th
Qualifying ? Race 34: 1st
Race 34: 2nd
?Coming here I was quite nervous given the new track surface and I was comparing it to Texas where we struggled a bit. But when you qualify on pole twice and third I thought we would?ve come away with more points than we did. We have a quick car and if we use that to get good track position at Homebush we can keep clear of the trouble behind. There was a lot of contact out there so thankfully the car finished okay and we came away from the weekend with some good points. I am going to have a big crack at Homebush and just go hard. At 124 points back it will be the least amount of pressure I?ve ever had heading into the title decider so we will see what comes out of it.?
Will Davison - #6 Pepsi Max FPR Ford:
Qualifying ? Race 33: 13th
Race 33: 8th
Qualifying ? Race 34: 10th
Race 34: 6th
?I had two good races today and I enjoyed them but the damage was done in qualifying. We only got on the right track with setup after qualifying and we should?ve perhaps changed direction earlier but we persevered with things through Friday and Saturday when we were nowhere. We went from 13th to eighth and 10th to sixth and while I enjoyed the races it was a pretty disastrous weekend for my championship. I head to Homebush which is a track I love with a mathematical chance of the title. I think we will see more fireworks between the front guys. Hopefully I can just be out in front and you never know what is going to happen.?
Edwards ? FPR Team Principal:
?We?ve come out of the weekend still in with a chance of the title but our performances weren?t as strong as we had expected. The new surface and a lot of aggressive racing threw up a lot of different things but we made the most of what we had. Mark needs to be aggressive and score as many points as possible in Homebush but we?ve had a good run there in recent years so we are a genuine chance. Will certainly recovered well today and we?ll do all we can between now and Homebush to give ourselves the best chance at the title.?
PHILLIP ISLAND 360
RACE 33 RESULTS:
1) Craig Lowndes ? Triple Eight
2) Jamie Whincup ? Triple Eight
3) Shane van Gisbergen ? Tekno
7) Mark Winterbottom ? Ford Pepsi Max Crew
8) Will Davison ? Ford Pepsi Max Crew
PHILLIP ISLAND 360
RACE 34 RESULTS:
1) Jamie Whincup ? Triple Eight
2) Mark Winterbottom ? Ford Pepsi Max Crew
3) Craig Lowndes ? Triple Eight
6) Will Davison ? Ford Pepsi Max Crew
DRIVER CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS AFTER RACE 34
1) Jamie Whincup ? Triple Eight: 2815 points
2) Craig Lowndes ? Triple Eight: 2795
3) Mark Winterbottom ? Ford Pepsi Max Crew: 2691
4) Will Davison ? Ford Pepsi Max Crew: 2592
5) Fabian Coulthard ? Brad Jones Racing: 2393
TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS AFTER RACE 34
1) Triple Eight: 5650 points
2) Ford Pepsi Max Crew: 5308
3) Brad Jones Racing: 4561