Mark Winterbottom breaks through at Bathurst 1000

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Mark Winterbottom (pictured, right) survived a thrilling duel with Jamie Whincup in the closing moments to win the Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, claiming his first career triumph in the premiere race for Australia’s V8 Supercars.

The victory ended a long period of Bathurst frustration for Winterbottom and his Ford Performance Racing team. Prior to Saturday, Winterbottom had never hit the podium in the “Great Race” and FPR hadn’t notched a Top-3 result there since 2004.

For the fifth year in a row, the margin of victory was less than one second as Winterbottom and Whincup fought tooth-and-nail all over the mountain in a frantic ending. On the final lap, Whincup went to the outside and pulled his Triple Eight Racing Holden alongside Winterbottom’s Ford going into Turn 2 but Winterbottom was able to hang on to the point.

With Whincup’s momentum zapped, Winterbottom went on to win for himself and co-driver Steven Richards (pictured, left) by .47 of a second. The triumph came one day after Ford announced it would continue to support the FPR squad despite plans to cease manufacturing in Australia within the next few years.

“To win Bathurst is amazing but to do it with Ford, to do it after the announcement yesterday, to do it with FPR, to do it with Richo – if I could ever ask to win Bathurst in any scenario it’s exactly what happened today,” Winterbottom said according to The Sydney Morning Herald. “To see the Ford fans cheering your name. I’ve never been more pumped in my life.”

With Whincup and Paul Dumbrell left to settle for runner-up, another Holden tandem – Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff – picked up third after Lowndes engaged in his own late battle with multiple drivers for the final step on the podium.

Ricciardo: Red Bull has ‘decent chance’ of Abu Dhabi F1 victory

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Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull stands a “decent chance” of signing off from the 2017 Formula 1 season with a victory in next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

After a slow start to the year, Red Bull made massive gains across the course of the season by developing its RB13 to end the season as front-runners, rivaling Mercedes and Ferrari for pace.

The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has a number of slow-speed sections that should suit the RB13 car, with Ricciardo optimistic about his chances of not only ending his podium drought at the track, but even winning the race.

“Yas Marina has actually been one of my favorite tracks over the years,” Ricciardo said in Red Bull’s pre-race preview.

“It’s been a bit like Suzuka for me though, a track that I’ve always enjoyed and gone well on but not quite reached the podium at. I broke that trend in Suzuka this year so hopefully I can do the same in Abu Dhabi.

“When you have so much time away from the car in the off season it helps to sign off with a strong result as it makes you feel like you really deserve a break.

“I think we should have a strong car in Abu Dhabi. I said I want another win before the season is out and I think we have a decent chance of achieving that.”

Red Bull has claimed three race wins through 2017, with Ricciardo’s victory in Azerbaijan being followed up by successes for teammate Max Verstappen in Malaysia and Mexico.