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MEDIA RELEASE/Shell V-Power Racing Team – Photos: Supercars

Fabian Coulthard – No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying for Race 11 – 5th (Fastest Lap: 1m29.1797s)
Qualifying for Race 12 – 13th (Fastest Lap: 1m29.2877s)
Race 11 – 2nd (Fastest Lap: 1m31.3059s)
Race 12 – 13th (Fastest Lap: 1m33.0339s)

Scott McLaughlin – No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying for Race 11 – 1st (Fastest Lap:1m28.5403s)
Qualifying for Race 12 – 3rd (Fastest Lap: 1m28.7746s)
Race 11 – 3rd (Fastest Lap: 1m31.7230s)
Race 12 – 14th (Fastest Lap: 1m33.2283s

The Shell V-Power Racing Team grabbed a double podium in Race 11 at the Sydney SuperSprint with Coulthard finishing P2 and McLaughlin finishing P3 after a nail-biting battle to the flag. 

In an incredibly tight Qualifying session, McLaughlin claimed his 10th pole position at SMP by two-hundredths of a second. Coulthard was just 0.6394 behind, a time good enough for P5.

For Race 11, McLaughlin started on hard tyres and Coulthard, who had saved his tyres for today’s races, started on softs. When the lights went green, rival van Gisbergen, who was on soft tyres, shot past McLaughlin on into turn 1. Coulthard moved up to P4 on the opening lap and was chasing down Percat who was just ahead and using the same tyre compound.

In the opening laps, McLaughlin had no choice but to concede track position to three cars which were on the faster rubber, one was his teammate, and he dropped back to P5. Coulthard charged forward into P3 and was less than two seconds from the lead.

Coulthard was first of the Shell V-Power Racing Team drivers to pit on lap 12 and took on another set of soft tyres. McLaughlin was the fastest car on the hard tyre during the first stint and didn’t fall further than P6 in the order before coming in for his stop on lap 13 and taking four soft tyres.

With all stops completed and eight laps remaining, Coulthard was P2 and 5.4 seconds from the lead, while McLaughlin was P5 and focussed on hunting down a podium position. Slowly but surely McLaughlin chipped away at his lap times and in the dying stages was hot on the back of Kelly and Courtney. 

It was a freight train of Mustangs, and McLaughlin was trying everything to pass Kelly. The opportunity came on the final lap. It looked impossible for him to also get past Courtney, but on the last corner McLaughlin made a run up the inside, and it was a drag race to the finish line. 

There were millimetres in it, but McLaughlin somehow managed to inch just half a car length ahead as the chequered flag was waved.

It was a double podium performance for the Shell V-Power Racing Team with Coulthard finishing P2 and McLaughlin P3 

Despite reusing soft tyres from the previous session, McLaughlin still clocked a Qualifying time fastest enough to put him in P3 for Race 12. Coulthard also ran the same soft tyres from the previous Qualifying session and was P13.

The last race of the Sydney SuperSprint was always going to be difficult with limited tyre quality left. The condition of the No.12 Mustang’s soft tyres was immediately evident as McLaughlin quickly lost two places on the opening lap, and another three by lap 3. Coulthard, who opted for hard tyres for the first stint, also dropped one place to P14.

McLaughlin’s Mustang suffered damage to its left rear corner at the hands of Percat, but it was only superficial. The Kiwi pitted on lap 8 and took a set of hard tyres. Coulthard stopped just two laps later and also swapped to a set of hard tyres to finish the weekend’s racing on. He and his teammate were positioned in P13 and P14 respectively as the field finished filtering through their stops.

On lap 21, Coulthard passed his teammate and moved up to P13. Coulthard with the first of the Shell V-Power Racing duo to make a move on Holdsworth who was just ahead, but there was contact when McLaughlin also tried to pass. While Holdsworth ended up in the dirt, the bunker called “play-on” because of the overlap and pace McLaughlin had on him.

Having used up their tyres in the earlier races, Coulthard and McLaughlin weren’t able to match the pace of the cars ahead on fresher rubber. Coulthard finished in P13 and McLaughlin in P14.

McLaughlin still leads the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, while Coulthard remains in 11th. The Shell V-Power Racing Team leads the Team Championship with 1256 points.

“I said that we wouldn’t run away from a fight and this weekend was good proof of that. We left SMP last time 17th overall for the round in the points, and we turned that around to finishing P3 for this round. So thanks to my team for all their work in between rounds to give me something to fight with.”

“The highlight for the weekend for me was getting back to the podium in Race 11, although it was a bit of a sombre experience without the podium celebrations. But that’s what needs to be done during these times. Eyes forward to the next event as I think there is still more speed to come.”

“Overall, it was a really solid weekend for us in car No.17, and I think we made the best of a bad set of tyres in the final race. The race earlier today was awesome with the battle at the end to get third on the line and get some good points there. Then it was just a matter of trying to make the best of things in the final race.”

“I’m really proud of the crew because the pit stops on the cars were unbelievable and they are always on it. I’m really looking forward to Darwin now, so let’s roll on.”



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