Darwin Supercars: Coulthard pips McLaughlin in Race 1

Fabian Coulthard held off Scott McLaughlin to lead a DJR Team Penske one-two at Hidden Valley, while Shane van Gisbergen’s title hopes took a bit hit with a costly DNF.

Darwin Supercars: Coulthard pips McLaughlin in Race 1
Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford
Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford
Nick Percat, Brad Jones Racing Holden
Rick Kelly, Nissan Motorsport
Chaz Mostert, Rod Nash Racing Ford
Chaz Mostert, Rod Nash Racing Ford
David Reynolds, Erebus Motorsport Holden
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

It was all about the undercut for Coulthard; running third in the early stages of the race, the #12 Penske Ford was first into pitlane on Lap 5. Emerging in clear air, he was able to cycle his way into the effective lead as the stops shook out.

He didn’t get much of a gap put of it though. On Lap 18 polesitter Rick Kelly fired into the Turn 11 wall thanks to a stuck throttle, which meant that as Coulthard finally did pop up in the lead he did so with the pack right on his tail.

He cleared that hurdle with a near perfect restart on Lap 23, but still had to contend with the oldest tyres in the field and mirrors full of teammate Scott McLaughlin.

Coulthard was up to the task, though, coming home 0.3s clear of McLaughlin to slightly extend his points lead.

“Scotty played pretty kind there,” said Coulthard. “To get a one-two, we couldn’t ask for much more.”

For Scott McLaughlin, nothing quite went to plan in the early stages of the race. The Kiwi made a sluggish getaway from the front row, just managing to hold on to second spot, before running off the track at Turn 1 on the second lap trying to get by early leader Rick Kelly and dropped back to sixth.

From there things got better for McLaughlin. He stopped on Lap 7, emerging behind the likes of Coulthard, Tim Slade, and Nick Percat who had all stopped earlier, but able to quickly clear Kelly who popped out of the lane in front of him a lap later.

A slow stop from David Reynolds then helped McLaughlin into fourth as the stops shook out, which he turned into third when he barged past Slade at the restart. Third then became second at the same spot a lap later, McLaughlin clearing Percat to make it a Penske one-two.

While he quickly closed up on the back of Coulthard, McLaughlin was forced to settle for second.

“That was a brain fart on my behalf,” said McLaughlin of his Turn 1 error.

“I was trying to hang it on the cushion there and it didn’t work. Anyway I got away with it. The car was fantastically fast, and Fabian drove a faultless race. We’ve shown we’ve got some pace, but there’s a long way to go. Moving forward, I’m really excited.”

Percat finished a credible third for Brad Jones Racing, using exactly the same strategy as Coulthard to find track position midway through the race. While he couldn’t stop McLaughlin getting past shortly after the restart, Percat was able to hold off Jamie Whincup in the closing laps to bag his first podium in BJR colours.

Chaz Mostert finished fifth behind Whincup, having put the Triple Eight Commodore under pressure at times during the second stint, while Cam Waters was sixth.

Craig Lowndes came out on top off a huge battle with Reynolds to finish seventh, the Erebus driver just eighth after that slow stop took him out of podium contention.

James Moffat and Lee Holdsworth rounded out the Top 10.

Shane van Gisbergen had an absolute shocker, not making the finish. Having opted for a longer first stint, he’d actually moved past Reynolds and into the race lead by Lap 10. But on Lap 18 his Triple Eight Commodore suffered a right-rear tyre failure on the run to Turn 1, sending him into the weeds and giving him a long tour back to pitlane.

He worked his way back to 16th, but contact with Jason Bright on Lap 40 broke his front suspension and took van Gisbergen out of the race for good.

The debacle ruined Garth Tander’s race as well, the Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden driver tangling with van Gisbergen as part of the melee and finishing down in 26th with plenty of steering damage of his own.

Van Gisbergen is now 187 points adrift of championship leader Coulthard.

 

ClaDriverCarLapsTimeGap
1 12 new_zealand  Fabian Coulthard  Ford Falcon FG-X 42 -  
2 17 new_zealand  Scott McLaughlin  Ford Falcon FG-X 42 0.3776 0.378
3 8 australia  Nick Percat  Holden Commodore VF 42 1.3454 1.345
4 88 australia  Jamie Whincup  Holden Commodore VF 42 1.7691 1.769
5 55 australia  Chaz Mostert  Ford Falcon FG-X 42 2.3189 2.319
6 6 australia  Cameron Waters  Ford Falcon FG-X 42 4.1925 4.193
7 888 australia  Craig Lowndes  Holden Commodore VF 42 8.7772 8.777
8 9 australia  David Reynolds  Holden Commodore VF 42 9.3492 9.349
9 34 australia  James Moffat  Holden Commodore VF 42 9.9180 9.918
10 18 australia  Lee Holdsworth  Holden Commodore VF 42 10.6443 10.644
11 14 australia  Tim Slade  Holden Commodore VF 42 11.0409 11.041
12 21 australia  Tim Blanchard  Holden Commodore VF 42 11.4080 11.408
13 19 australia  Will Davison  Holden Commodore VF 42 11.7282 11.728
14 5 australia  Mark Winterbottom  Ford Falcon FG-X 42 15.3496 15.350
15 56 australia  Jason Bright  Ford Falcon FG-X 42 16.4882 16.488
16 23 australia  Michael Caruso  Nissan Altima 42 16.9146 16.915
17 3 australia  Cameron McConville Holden Commodore VF 42 17.8137 17.814
18 7 australia  Todd Kelly  Nissan Altima 42 18.4201 18.420
19 28 australia  Jack Le Brocq  Nissan Altima 42 25.1319 25.132
20 78 switzerland  Simona de Silvestro  Nissan Altima 42 29.5878 29.588
21 62 australia  Alex Rullo  Holden Commodore VF 42 33.4820 33.482
22 22 australia  James Courtney  Holden Commodore VF 42 48.7105 48.711
23 2 australia  Scott Pye  Holden Commodore VF 42 58.5311 58.531
24 4 australia  Macauley Jones  Holden Commodore VF 41 1 lap 1 lap 
25 99 australia  Dale Wood  Holden Commodore VF 41 1 lap 1 lap 
26 33 australia  Garth Tander  Holden Commodore VF 41 1 lap 1 lap 
DNF 97 new_zealand  Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 38    
DNF 15 australia  Rick Kelly  Nissan Altima 16    
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