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SUPERCARS NTI TOWNSVILLE SUPERSPRINT RACE 19

They say that you make your own luck, though luck is gained through the misfortunes of others which was certainly the case during Race 19 in the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at Townsville.

A mistake at turn 1 during qualifying saw championship leader Scott McLaughlin tumble out of the top 10 during qualifying. His lap only good enough for 16th on the grid and what looked certain to be a challenging afternoon. In contrast Jamie Whincup took pole position from a vastly improved David Reynolds, while Chaz Mostert and Cameron Waters completed the second row of the grid. Anton De Pasquale, Fabian Coulthard, Shane van Gisbergen, Bryce Fullwood, James Courtney and Nick Percat completed the top 10 on the grid.

Whincup made another perfect start as Reynolds sat momentarily on the line with excessive wheelspin. The slow getaway allowed Mostert to take second as Reynolds. moved right to salvage third just ahead of Waters. Coulthard was right behind the Monster Energy Mustang with a gap to De Pasquale, Percat, van Gisbergen and Winterbottom, who had made ground on the inside line, kicking up the dust as two wheels edged out on the grass.

A concertina effect at turn 2 led to contact between Winterbottom and van Gisbergen, which caused a chain reaction of contact. The #97 RBHRT Commodore hit De Pasquale who then hit the side of Coulthard. De Pasquale spun across the track from 7th place while van Gisbergen ran straight on towards the outside wall and into the path of Hazelwood and Fullwood. Garry Jacobson, Rick Kelly, Andre Heimgartner, Macauley Jones and Alex Davison all suffered damage as they went left to avoid the stranded De Pasquale, who was left unscathed after the initial incident. McLaughlin jumped up 8 places when he chose to dive right at the corner and narrowly missed the Penrite Racing Commodore.

Whincup led lap 1 from Mostert, Reynolds, Waters, Coulthard, Percat, Holdsworth, McLaughlin, Fullwood and Winterbottom as those afflicted with damage tried to limp back to the safety of their respective garages. Shane van Gisbergen had significant panel damage to the left front and rear of the #97 Commodore, while Andre Heimgartner trailed a plume of smoke from a damage front right suspension after making contact with teammate Kelly. Whincup was fortunate to avoid the Ford Ranger Recovery vehicle at turn 8 as it reversed back behind the concrete wall and maintained his lead from Mostert and Reynolds.

McLaughlin was the first to make his compulsory pit stop on lap 9 and change all bar the front right tyre. He emerged in clean air ahead of Kelly. Holdsworth and Pye scuttled the plan for McLaughlin when the pair stopped on lap 10 and returned to the circuit immediately in front of #17 Shell V-Power Mustang. Mostert stopped on lap 17 which saw Chris Pither edge into the top 10 albeit without having made his stop. Whincup responded with his compulsory stop on the ensuing lap. He returned to the circuit with the effective race lead well ahead of Mostert and the following pack. Waters was the last of the leaders to pit on lap 24 and lost ground to end himself behind Pye. Waters regained the position from Pye towards the end of the lap and ran the Team 18 car off line in the process which allowed Coulthard to also sneak pass at the final corner.

Waters benefited from four fresher tyres to move forward in the final portion of the race and dived inside Reynolds for 3rd at turn 11. He then chased down second placed Mostert and took the place at the same corner with 3 laps left.

Jamie Whincup went on to take the win from Waters by 6.88 seconds, with Mostert 3rd. Coulthard, Reynolds, Courtney, McLaughlin, Fullwood, Pye and De Pasquale completed the first 10 finishers. Whincup’s Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore was a notable absentee from the podium as the winner walked up to his position in the pitlane.

“Bit of a challenge today,”
Whincup told Fox Sports. “We lost the radio on about lap 10 and I was screaming at the guys to put the board out. I didn’t get the chequered flag and I saw the flag go out and back, he didn’t know if it was me or not. I just remembered the old man said just keep going until you get the chequered flag, so I thought that I’d keep going. We changed the podium presentation in Darwin to the track because of COVID reasons, but we’ve changed it back. Anyway, I was just trying to wing it with no radio. All in all though, I’m happy with the win.”


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