MARK WINTERBOTTOM/No.5 Orrcon Steel FPR Ford won the Armor All Gold Coast 600 by taking the lead from JAMIE WHINCUP/No.88 TeamVodafone Holden on Lap 93. It was a graceful pass and off he went, never looking back. It was Frosty’s first win of the season, and moves him up to fourth in the standings with three races remaining.
Winterbottom’s International Guest driver was RICHARD LYONS of Ireland, who had about five minutes notice whilst in Japan that he could fill in for WILL POWER, who was injured in last weekend’s Las Vegas IndyCar race.
Whincup took over the points lead, with a first on Saturday and a second on Sunday. He now leads his TeamVodafone teammate, CRAIG LOWNDES by 143 points. Lowndes, and International driver, ANDY PRIAULX, finished fifth Sunday and DNF on Saturday.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS of France, co-driving with Whincup, won the inaugural Dan Wheldon Memorial Trophy for Top International driver over the two days. The usually reserved driver got emotional on the podium when winning the award. He said “It was a tough trophy to win.”
Whincup and International driver, SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS of France, had led much of the race. Bourdais is the only driver to have won the Gold Coast race in two series – CART and V8’s.
Finishing third was LEE HOLDSWORTH & SIMON PAGENAUD of France/No.33 Fujitsu Racing GRM Holden. Pagenaud was the top International Rookie driver. It also didn’t go unnoticed that two French active IndyCar drivers were podium finishers.
GREG MURPHY & OLIVER GAVIN/No.11 Pepsi Max Crew Holden finished fourth, with RICK KELLY & JORG BERGMEISTER/No.15 Jack Daniel’s Racing Holden coming in fifth.
Two of the top ten cars, first and tenth, were Fords. The other eight were Holdens.
Another big winner this weekend was Queensland. The government underwrites the event, and attendance was up this year by more than 11,000. This year overall the attendance was 180,486, compared to last year’s OA at 170,900+.