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Darwin Supercars: De Pasquale takes first win

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Darwin Supercars: De Pasquale takes first win
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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:

Cla # Driver Car Gap
1 99 Australia Anton De Pasquale
Holden Commodore ZB
2 44 Australia James Courtney
Ford Mustang GT 0.835
3 20 Australia Scott Pye
Holden Commodore ZB 6.128
4 18 Australia Mark Winterbottom
Holden Commodore ZB 11.195
5 22 New Zealand Chris Pither
Holden Commodore ZB 11.447
6 12 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard
Ford Mustang GT 11.740
7 25 Australia Chaz Mostert
Holden Commodore ZB 12.457
8 6 Australia Cameron Waters
Ford Mustang GT 13.036
9 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner
Ford Mustang GT 13.338
10 5 Australia Lee Holdsworth
Ford Mustang GT 14.073
11 97 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen
Holden Commodore ZB 14.955
12 4 Australia Jack Smith
Holden Commodore ZB 15.233
13 9 Australia David Reynolds
Holden Commodore ZB 16.537
14 55 Australia Jack Le Brocq
Ford Mustang GT 17.067
15 15 Australia Rick Kelly
Ford Mustang GT 17.935
16 19 Australia Alex Davison
Holden Commodore ZB 18.360
17 88 Australia Jamie Whincup
Holden Commodore ZB 20.699
18 14 Australia Todd Hazelwood
Holden Commodore ZB 22.466
19 35 Australia Garry Jacobson
Holden Commodore ZB 22.738
20 17 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin
Ford Mustang GT 27.071
21 2 Australia Bryce Fullwood
Holden Commodore ZB 32.762
3 Australia Macauley Jones
Holden Commodore ZB 12 Laps
34 Australia Jake Kostecki
Holden Commodore ZB 31 Laps
8 Australia Nick Percat
Holden Commodore ZB
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About this article

Series Supercars
Event Hidden Valley
Drivers Anton De Pasquale
Teams Erebus Motorsport
Author Andrew van Leeuwen