Darwin Supercars: De Pasquale takes first win
Anton De Pasquale took a career first Supercars race win in the opening heat of the Darwin Triple Crown.
The Erebus driver started the race from sixth, however there was just one driver ahead of him – Mark Winterbottom – also starting on the soft tyre.
While it was Winterbottom that initially looked the racier of the two, the Team 18 driver taking an early lead, an early Safety Car, courtesy of Rick Kelly tipping Jake Kostecki into the wall, changed the strategic picture.
With the entire field filing into pitlane, Winterbottom opted to switch to hard tyres for the long run home.
De Pasquale, however, stuck with Plan A and took on fresh softs, surviving a sideswipe from Jamie Whincup to emerge at the front of the field.
From there it was a straightforward affair for the second-year star, even a second Safety Car 10 laps from him unable to threaten his maiden victory.
"We there everything at it today so we're going to have a struggle tomorrow, but that's okay when you can talk about a win," said De Pasquale.
"It paid off. We had a really good car, our cars are always good around here."
He added that the win was a nice pay-off for his Erebus crew, which has been on the road for over a month since fleeing locked down Melbourne.
"My dream is racing every weekend around the country and living in hotels, but for a lot of the crew they have families at home," he said.
"So for them to be away for so long, to get wins and podiums, that's why they're involved in the sport."
James Courtney was next in line in terms of soft/soft runners, the 2010 series champion coming home a fine second, eight-tenths behind De Pasquale.
While Whincup was third on the road, best of those only running the hards, he was slapped with a 15-second penalty for an unsafe release during the chaotic round of stops.
That dropped him down to 17th, and promoted Scott Pye, who jumped from the hards to the softs, to the bottom step of the podium.
He wasn't the only big name to feel the wrath of the officials. Shane van Gisbergen was forced to serve a drive-through right after the stops, after tipping Nick Percat into a Lap 1 spin that also took out Todd Hazelwood. Van Gisbergen recovered to finish 11th.
Scott McLaughlin, who crossed the line eighth, was also slapped with a 15-second penalty for a restart infringement during the first Safety Car, which left him 20th in the final classification.
Winterbottom capped off a good day for Team 18 in fourth behind teammate Pye, while Chris Pither scored Team Sydney's best result with a soft tyre run to fifth.
Fabian Coulthard led the way for DJR Team Penske in sixth, followed home by Chaz Mostert, who charged his way from 20th on the grid to seventh.
The race was a shocker for Brad Jones Racing. After Percat and Hazelwood's Lap 1 tangle, there was more damage for the team when Macauley Jones crashed of the race on Lap 24, triggering the second Safety Car.
The silver lining was a 12th place for Jack Smith, who made a second stop during that Safety Car for softs before making up eight spots on the run home.
Darwin Supercars - Race 1 results:
|1||99|| Anton De Pasquale ||Holden Commodore ZB|
|2||44|| James Courtney ||Ford Mustang GT||0.835|
|3||20|| Scott Pye ||Holden Commodore ZB||6.128|
|4||18|| Mark Winterbottom ||Holden Commodore ZB||11.195|
|5||22|| Chris Pither ||Holden Commodore ZB||11.447|
|6||12|| Fabian Coulthard ||Ford Mustang GT||11.740|
|7||25|| Chaz Mostert ||Holden Commodore ZB||12.457|
|8||6|| Cameron Waters ||Ford Mustang GT||13.036|
|9||7|| Andre Heimgartner ||Ford Mustang GT||13.338|
|10||5|| Lee Holdsworth ||Ford Mustang GT||14.073|
|11||97|| Shane van Gisbergen ||Holden Commodore ZB||14.955|
|12||4|| Jack Smith ||Holden Commodore ZB||15.233|
|13||9|| David Reynolds ||Holden Commodore ZB||16.537|
|14||55|| Jack Le Brocq ||Ford Mustang GT||17.067|
|15||15|| Rick Kelly ||Ford Mustang GT||17.935|
|16||19|| Alex Davison ||Holden Commodore ZB||18.360|
|17||88|| Jamie Whincup ||Holden Commodore ZB||20.699|
|18||14|| Todd Hazelwood ||Holden Commodore ZB||22.466|
|19||35|| Garry Jacobson ||Holden Commodore ZB||22.738|
|20||17|| Scott McLaughlin ||Ford Mustang GT||27.071|
|21||2|| Bryce Fullwood ||Holden Commodore ZB||32.762|
|3|| Macauley Jones ||Holden Commodore ZB||12 Laps|
|34|| Jake Kostecki ||Holden Commodore ZB||31 Laps|
|8|| Nick Percat ||Holden Commodore ZB|
|View full results|
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