BATHURST, Australia – Mark Winterbottom survived a late-race fight with Jamie Whincup to score his first victory in the legendary Bathurst 1,000 on Sunday at the Mount Panorama Circuit.
Winterbottom – teamed with Steven Richards at Ford Performance Racing during the 1,000 kilometer battle – waged war with Whincup in a dramatic late-race sprint that was held in soggy and blustery conditions.
The battle for the victory began when Winterbottom managed to beat Whincup out of the pits after 138 laps after both teams completed their mandatory seven pit stops for the day. The two stayed glued to one another, with Whincup looking for any way around Winterbottom.
In the end Winterbottom – who came within 10 laps of winning at Bathurst in 2007 before sliding off the track – was able to hang on to score not only his first Bathurst victory, but also his first podium in the legendary race.
“That’s amazing, I’ve been trying so hard for 10 years to win this race,” Winterbottom said at the post-race press conference. “I first came to Bathurst when I was four years old and I’ve always just wanted to hold the trophy at some stage. So to finally win it and the battle at the end… to do it with Richo (Richards) and to do it with FPR is just amazing, I’m speechless almost.”
Whincup, who was teamed with Paul Dumbrell, finished .47 of a second behind Winterbottom in second. It was the fifth year in a row that less than a second separated the top two finishers.
Craig Lowndes and partner Warren Luff finished third, followed by Garth Tander/Nick Percat and David Reynolds/Dean Canto.