Prodrive Racing Australia's Mark Winterbottom has won a thrilling main V8 Supercars race at Winton Raceway following the dramatic demise of his team mate Chaz Mostert.

The Ford Falcon FG X driver's second victory of the weekend has handed Winterbottom the championship lead ahead of Triple Eight's Craig Lowndes.

Contrary to the result, Winterbottom actually spent the large part of the afternoon playing second fiddle to his Prodrive team mate as it was Mostert who led away from pole position.

Although the 23-year old was able to resist another threatening getaway from Winterbottom, Mostert could nothing in keeping the soft tyre running Lowndes at bay.

Knowing time was of the essence, Lowndes unleashed a sequence of laps where he tried to balance pace with tyre conservation. Mostert (on hard tyres) managed the gap well, though, and kept the Triple Eight Holden within striking distance as the pit window loomed.

The Red Bull racer's opening stint did hand Lowndes track position once the first round of stops had been completed. However, it didn't take long for Mostert to muscle his Pepsi Max Ford back into the lead.

Lowndes didn't hand the position over easily and it was during their enthralling tussle where Freightliner Racing's Fabian Coulthard brought his Holden firmly into play - underlining the Kiwi's tremendous opening stint on the hard tyre.

Mostert and Coulthard quickly pulled away from the Triple Eight Holden as the effects of Lowndes' opening stint burst came back to bite the multiple champion.

But just as the teams would have been thinking about pitting for a second time, the race took a dramatic twist when Mostert threw away his golden ticket and slammed his Falcon FG X rearwards into the tyre wall.

Predictably that brought out the safety car which then delivered a parade of pit stops, throwing any previous course of strategy out of the window.

Lowndes emerged as the leader on the restart but Winterbottom ended up as the main benefactor after snatching the initiative away from the Red Bull Commodore. As in the previous exchange, Coulthard was there again to follow through in second.

Despite Coulthard and Lowndes' best efforts, the order remained unchanged as Winterbottom crossed the line 1.8 seconds ahead of the two Holden's.

A further dozen seconds down the road, Nissan's Michael Caruso reconfirmed the Altima's resurgence in form to claim a fine fourth place finish.

An aggressive soft tyre strategy, to counteract his poor qualifying, meant Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander held fourth on the restart ahead of David Reynolds and Scott Pye, both snapping venomously at the Commodores heels.

Their unsuccessful but forceful attempts in trying to bully Tander out of the way allowed for Caruso pick his way through the lot of them.

The Prodrive and Penske run Ford's kept disputing the same piece of tarmac right until the end of the race. HRT's James Courtney ended up splitting the pair in seventh.

Pye's eighth place was still by far his best result of the season so far since replacing Marcos Ambrose at the DJR Team Penske outfit.

Polestar Racing Volvo's Scott McLaughlin had a quiet afternoon in ninth while defending six-time champion Jamie Whincup recovered from 22nd to tenth.



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