Ford's Mark Winterbottom has kicked off the Ipswich V8 Supercars weekend with a perfectly executed seventh victory of the season to further extend Prodrive's winning streak.

The Prodrive Australia driver took his 34th career victory - also a third on the bounce - to the further bolster his championship lead ahead of Red Bull's Craig Lowndes.

Winterbottom got the perfect jump on his pole sitting team mate Chaz Mostert, who was left to deal with the attentions from an all Kiwi second row.

While Winterbottom bolted away at the front, Volvo's Scott McLaughlin also punished Mostert for his sluggish getaway to snatch second away from the sister Pepsi Max Ford.

Mostert had looked to have regained the high ground but the Polestar S60 once again ducked back underneath the Falcon FG X. All of that allowed Shane Van Gisbergen to close on the Prodrive Ford.

Tekno Autosport's Van Gisbergen then rear ended Mostert at the end of the first lap after seemingly losing his braking point into the final turn.

Their battle for third, which Van Gisbergen came out ahead of, unleashed a furious bottleneck of jostling cars with the order not really settling until lap five.

None of that was a concern to Winterbottom as he strolled home to win by almost five-seconds ahead of GRM's McLaughlin in second, claiming a much needed first podium of the year.

Unlike the scene of serenity of the front, the battle for the final step on the rostrum raged on until the very last act of the opening race.

On lap 18 Van Gisbergen and Mostert still remained locked together but Triple Eight's Lowndes kept a close tab on the pair in fifth.

As Van Gisbergen began to struggle to maintain grip, Mostert made his play for third position. With clear friction between the two, the Kiwi refused to yield and the pair interlocked coming out of the final turn.

Lowndes needed no second invitation and a masterful piece of opportunistic race craft handed the title protagonist a vital podium finish.

Van Gisbergen and Mostert were relegated to fourth and fifth. Their fraught exchange allowed the next gaggle of cars - led by HRT's James Courtney in fifth - to close within 0.4's by the chequered flag.

David Reynolds continued the Prodrive presence within the top-ten in seventh ahead of James Moffat, Jamie Whincup and Will Davison.



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