Ford’s Mark Winterbottom has roared into the V8 Supercars championship race after winning both of Saturday’s races at Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway.
The 33-year-old, who also secured his first pole position in over a year, climbed from sixth on the championship standings at the start of the day to finish top of the pile.
Winterbottom now heads into Sunday’s 83-lap 200km race holding a one-point advantage over Holden’s Jamie Whincup, who had a mixed day in Western Australia.
The 2013 Bathurst champion’s double success capped a dominant day by his Prodrive Racing Australia team.
Teammate Chaz Mostert claimed his first V8s career pole for the first of Saturday’s 25-lap races in which he finished second, while Winterbottom led from pole to victory in the second race.
“Awesome day for the team,” Winterbottom said.
“To get a pole position … it’s been about 12 or 14 months, a long time. Good to get pole for me, good to get pole for Chaz and good to get the wins.”
Whincup said he was almost “embarrassed” to find himself on the podium after finishing second in the second race.
The six-time V8s champion could only finish 16th after qualifying a lowly 21st for the opening race and admitted he was merely trying to hold off his rivals after snaring second on the grid for race two.
“It wasn’t our proudest day at the race track,” he said.
“We pretty much had one good lap for the day in the second qualifying session and the rest was pretty ordinary.
“It’s almost embarrassing to stand on the podium at the end of the day as we didn’t have the car speed of the guys around us who did a great job.”
Holden ace Craig Lowndes, who is still searching for an unprecedented 100th V8s career race win, finished third and fourth and lies just four points behind Winterbottom in the title race.
The Perth event concludes on Sunday with the third and final race set to start at 2.20pm (4.20pm AEST).