Winton V8s: Slade doubles up on Sunday

Tim Slade is now one of just two multiple V8 Supercars race winners in 2016, doubling up with a second victory in as many days at Winton.

Winton V8s: Slade doubles up on Sunday
Podium: winner Tim Slade, Brad Jones Racing Holden
Tim Slade, Brad Jones Racing Holden
Race winner Tim Slade, Brad Jones Racing Holden
Mark Winterbottom, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford
Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford and Scott Pye, Team Penske Ford
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
David Reynolds, Erebus Motorsport Holden
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Chaz Mostert, Rod Nash Racing Ford

Having waited 227 races for his first ever V8s win, Slade only had to wait 24 hours for his second to arrive. The Brad Jones Racing driver put in another measured performance across the 200-kilometre Sunday race at Winton, taking a 6.6s victory over Mark Winterbottom.

Slade managed to win the race on just two stops, on a day where a mid-race Safety Car made the three-stop an option as well. But good car speed in the first stint meant that when Lee Holdsworth’s stranded car sparked that sole caution on Lap 19 Slade had only just made his first stop, and had jumped early leader Fabian Coulthard in the process.

When the race was restarted on Lap 22 Slade wasted little time barging past Rick Kelly, who had found himself first on the road, for the lead. And from there, he was the effective leader all the way to the finish.

All that was left was sparkling clean second stop on Lap 40, and an inch-perfect 27-lap stint at the end to seal a second win.

“What do I say to that? 226 starts, and then two in one weekend,” said Slade. “I hope this isn’t a dream.”

Winterbottom was the best of the three-stoppers in second, having kick-started his afternoon with a Lap 1 pitstop. He then pitted from third of the early stoppers when the Safety Car came out, jumping team-mate Chaz Mostert in the process, and then made a third and final stop on Lap 24, just two laps after the restart.

It left him with a monster 43-lap final stint, but the reigning champion held his nerve… and a hard-charging Coulthard, on significantly fresher rubber, off in the closing stages of the race.

His reward is the championship lead heading into the mini holiday before Darwin.

“Qualifying 10th was average, but the strategy was awesome,” said Winterbottom. “To salvage the position, that’s what it’s all about.”

Like Slade, Coulthard opted for a two-stopper. The pair actually made their first stops on the first lap, before DJR Team Penske opted to keep Coulthard out until Lap 43 before he made his second stop.

That put him a bit further back in the field, P7 on the road, but with fresher rubber he could charge his way back onto the podium – and right up behind Winterbottom’s rear wing at the finish.

“It’s not been a bad day,” said Coulthard.

“We tried our best, and today third was the best we could do.”

Shane van Gisbergen recovered from a disappointing qualifying session to finish a reasonably lonely fourth. The Safety Car was kind to the #97 Commodore, the timing working great following his Lap 1 stop. He was quick after making his third stop on Lap 27 as well, ending up in P4 ahead of Cam Waters.

David Reynolds had a good afternoon, running near the front on genuine pace. The Erebus driver two-stopped, making up ground during the Safety Car period and then driving his way to an impressive sixth place, the final spot coming when Scott Pye ran wide on the final lap.

“My car was fantastic,” said Reynolds, who qualified back in 17th. “As soon as the red light went out, my car was on song. I made some errors out there, but I’m really, really happy.”

Craig Lowndes finished eight after an adventurous afternoon, which included a broken header, an off at Turn 3 after a coming together with Winterbottom, and then another off at the sweeper after running wide lapping James Courtney.

Pole-sitter Chaz Mostert had been in contention for a decent result in the early stages of the race, but it wasn’t to be. Having been out-dragged off the line by Coulthard, Prodrive opted to pit the #55 Ford early. That put Mostert in a decent position, right behind Lowndes on the road, second-best of the early stoppers.

However, the next round of stops didn’t pan out well. Mostert pitted twice during the Safety Car period, and then was forced back in the lane straight after the restart thanks to contact with James Courtney on the first green flag lap. He capped off an ordinary afternoon by spinning at Turn 2 after clashing with Jason Bright, all-in-all resulting in a 20th place finish.

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