Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom let the comeback of the century slip from his grasp at Winton on a day that created the first three-way tie in a round result of a V8 Supercar Championship Series event.
For the first time in Supercar and Australian Touring Car Championship history, three drivers – Toll HRT's Garth Tander, TeamVodafone's Jamie Whincup and Jim Beam Racing's Will Davison - finished equal on total points for the weekend. The event was eventually decided on finishing positions in race three, which was won by Tander, with Whincup next across the line, followed by Davison in fourth. The Jim Beam driver had had a great chance to win his second event of the year until wearing tyres got the better of him in the last race.
“It's a little bit like a draw in football I guess, but the rules are that the first across the line in the last race gets the trophy,” Tander confirmed, “Rick [Kelly] and I were tied first and second in New Zealand last year and I was given second there – that's the way it is and I'll certainly take it this time.
“We won that last race on genuine speed and it's a shame Mark [Winterbottom] wasn't there for us to gauge our speed from, but you've got to stay on the track for that to happen.”
Winterbottom's outright speed was no more evident than when he came from 21st to second in race two, giving himself a shot at the most unlikely of third race victories. But the FPR driver slipped up on the first lap of race three, which led to his demise.
“I just made a mistake,” Winterbottom said, “It was tough conditions out there and, when I turned in, I just locked the tyre. Then it's blind coming back on [to the track] and I got hit by someone.
“The 'off' was a mistake - and you can't say you did the other bit right when it was a mistake to start with. You put a lot of pressure on yourself and like to think you don't make errors, but let's get it out of the way and make sure it doesn't happen at, say, Bathurst.
“I've lost my yellow jersey, but we'll see how we climb the Mountain. It's nice to lead, but you've got to lead at the right time. I've lost it for a bit but let's see what happens.”
Whincup, having won the opening race of the weekend, snuck into second overall based on his last race finish.
“Any podium finish in this category is a good one,” the TeamVodafone driver admitted, “We didn't steal the silverware this time and we were very keen to do that after [being beaten] at Queensland Raceway.”