Stone Brothers Racing's Mark Winterbottom continued his outstanding form with a debut win in a V8 Supercar at Bathurst's Mount Panorama after taking the 25-lap Konica Series support race today.

Winterbottom, who started from pole, was involved in a fantastic three-way battle with Warren Luff and Matthew White, which saw all three Ford drivers leading at some stage. His qualifying lap with the two year-old AU Falcon of 2min 08.9237secs was considered one of the most outstanding laps by a rookie V8 Supercar driver at Bathurst - and was actually faster than the time he clocked in his new BA Falcon and would have placed him 14th on the grid the V8 Supercar event.

Winterbottom led the race off the line in his Milligans Food Group Falcon, but lost the lead with a minor mistake at the end of Mountain Straight on the opening lap. However, he was in the right place to pounce when race leader White locked a brake at the Chase just over a lap from home in the 25-lap contest.

"I got a pretty good start, so that was pretty unusual for me," Winterbottom smiled, "Then I went in a little too deep at the end of Mountain Straight and slipped back to fourth.

"The couple of yellow flag periods affected the way my car was handling but, as it turned out, luck was on my side and I was in the right place at the right time and managed to grab lead when Matthew slipped up at Caltex Chase.

"This was a good hit out before tomorrow's main race, which I am really looking forward to."

Winterbottom will share his BA Falcon with Mark Noske tomorrow.

Dick Johnson Racing's Luff finished 0.8037secs behind the SBR youngster with Gulf Western Oil's White in third. All top three drivers in today's Konica V8 Supercar Challenge will share duties with their respective team-mates in Sunday's Bob Jane T-Marts 1000, with Luff partnering DJR's Steven Johnson, and White joining Dean Canto in Team Betta Electrical's #66 Falcon.

The Konica race did not go unscathed, with two safety car periods seeing the rigorous Mount Panorama circuit take its toll on some Konica drivers. The first came on the seventh lap and the yellows flew again on lap thirteen, when Karingal Haulage Clyde Lawrence's Commodore VS stopped at the top of the mountain.

"I clipped the left kerb and had too much front back on that last lap," White said, "It was disappointing to lose the lead on the last lap, but we are really happy with the speed of the car today and am really looking forward to the race tomorrow."

Luff found his time in the DFR Falcon AU extremely beneficial in the lead up to tomorrow's 1000-kilometre race.

"We are really happy with how this weekend has panned out for us," Luff said, "Competing in the Konica race this weekend is a great way to get more miles, even though the cars we are driving are all different it is definitely worth while getting the experience for the main race tomorrow. We have fulfilled objective one, so now we have to wait and see how objective two pans out tomorrow."

Konica V8 Supercar Challenge - race result:

1. Mark Winterbottom Stone Brothers Racing
2. Warren Luff Dick Johnson Racing
3. Matthew White Gulf Western Oil
4. Mark Porter Hydraulink Racing/IRC
5. Adam Wallis 3M/Scotts Transport
6. Tony D'Alberto Holden Young Lions
7. Kevin Mundy Actron Air/PCR
8. Grant Elliot Sydney Star Truck & Bus
9. Mark Howard Howard Racing
10. Ben Eggleston National Racing Products

 

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