MEDIA RELEASE/Supercars - Photos: supercars.com In a win for Supercars fans around the globe, Mark…
Scott McLaughlin took a trio of pole positions and two from three wins at the OTR Supersprint The Bend. In doing so, coupled with an off weekend for rival Jamie Whincup, McLaughlin can lay claim to the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
The three-peat for the Shell V-Power driver is testimony to the dominance that the McLaughlin- DJRTP alliance masterminded by chief engineer Ludo Lacroix.
Fabian Coulthard stole the limelight from McLaughlin at the start of race 29 with a sweeping move around the outside of turn 1 to steal the lead from McLaughlin and Whincup. Coulthard held sway at the end of the opening lap from McLaughlin, Whincup, Waters and De Pasquale. Shane van Gisbergen was in unfamiliar territory down in 17th, while Jacobson and Jones argued over the final corner which saw the pair run off track and compromise their speed for the run down the main straight.
WATCH RACE 29 HIGHLIGHTS HERE
Hazelwood and Kelly argued over 8th place on the run towards turn 1 at the start of lap 5, with Winterbottom looking to pass around the outside of both cars. A tap from Hazelwood under brakes saw Kelly run into Winterbottom. with both cars taking to the run-off area. Kelly returned to the track with the Supercheap Auto Mustang alongside. The two rubbed panels as they fought for position on the run to turn 6. Pye pushed up the inside of Le Brocq before a tap from Fullwood saw the Tickford Racing Mustang spin towards the infield. Fullwood received a 15 second penalty for the incident.
Fullwood and Reynolds were among the first into the pits when the window opened at the end of lap 6, while Coulthard eased off the throttle to allow McLaughlin to move into the race lead. Coulthard and Waters pitted together at the end of lap 10. Water’s stop had an unusual element as crew tried to pull a piece of plastic panel that had fallen from Jacobson’s car earlier in the race and became wedged in the air dam of the Monster Energy Mustang. The slight delay saw Waters drop behind De Pasquale on his return to the track.
McLaughlin headed to the pits at the end of lap 13 and resumed in 11, ahead of Coulthard and De Pasquale. Whincup moved down the pitlane for his compulsory stop just past half distance and it was there that his race unravelled. A slow 6.6 second stop saw Whincup drop behind Courtney, some 5 places behind the #17 Shell V-Power Mustang. Replays showed that the #88 RBHRT Commodore grab the air line as Whincup skidded to a stop at his pit bay. The contact ripped the air gun from the tyre changer on the front right of the car. The incident led to a fine and loss of team’s championship points, but made no change to Whincup’s championship tally.
Coulthard’s and Reynolds’ saw their races draw to a premature close when both suffered mechanical issues with ten laps left to run. The Safety Car board was put out to retrieve the Shell V-Power Mustang and the Penrite Racing Commodore as van Gisbergen trundled down the lane for his stop.
McLaughlin continued to lead from De Pasquale and Waters when the race resumed with 6 laps left to run. Further down the order there was a torrid dice for 14th position, with Smith, Jones and Le Brocq three wide at the penultimate corner. Smith outbraved himself at the final corner and slid off track to give Le Brocq 14th place as Pye and Kostecki joined the scrap. Pye ran off the road late in the race with what appeared to be battle damage to the left front suspension.
Scott McLaughlin held on to take the win and place one hand on the championship trophy. Anton De Pasquale claimed second and Cameron Waters third. James Courtney, Shane van Gisbergen, Nick Percat, Jamie Whincup, Chaz Mostert, Rick Kelly and Andre Heimgartner completed the top 10.
“Bummer about Fabs,” McLaughlin told Fox Sports. “I think we were on for a 1-2, but it was huge team game by Shell V-Power Racing. Fabs took it on the chin to let me go at the start and I really appreciate that. He had a great car and a great start. We’ll work on, make sure we dot our i’s and cross our t’s and if we can get it done today (the championship) that would be fantastic. If we don’t we’ll put ourselves in the best position come Bathurst.”
Scott Mclaughlin was once again on pole position and led the nearly full field (Alex Davison was withdrawn from Sunday’s races after an engine issue after Race 28 could not be repaired) the line at the start of race 30 in the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. Fabian Coulthard and David Reynolds were back amongst the action after rapid repairs were carried out on their respective cars, but Alex Davison was a non-starter in both races 29 and 30 after engine issues on Saturday.
WATCH RACE 30 HIGHLIGHTS HERE
Waters pulled alongside as they headed towards turn 1 and gradually edged the #17 towards the left side of the circuit, which gave the Monster Energy driver the faster line through the corner. After a slight bump between the pair, Waters was through and into the lead. There were bumps and scrapes throughout the midfield as driver’s sought to gain position, especially at turns 6 and 7, where Jack Le Brocq was bumped off the track as cars ran three-wide. Somehow everyone managed to complete the opening lap with Waters ahead of McLaughlin, then Whincup, Courtney, Mostert, Coulthard, Percat, Fullwood, De Pasquale and Hazelwood.
Whincup, Courtney and Coulthard made their stops on lap 9 of the 32 lap race, with leaders Waters and McLaughlin in for their stop one tour later. The Monster Energy Mustang got a slight jump on the Shell V-Power Mustang and was just ahead as they left their pit bays, to maintain the effective race lead. A nudge from Coulthard sent Courtney sliding out onto the grass at the fast turn 5 kink and drop a place to Fullwood. De Pasquale and Heimgartner were also involved in their own bump and grind, coming to blows no less than four times in the run from turn 6 to turn 9, with the Penrite Racing driver finally able to maintain 15th position.
Cameron Waters went on to take his first single driver victory with the win from McLaughlin, who wrapped up the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in the process. Jamie Whincup finished 3rd, with Nick Percat, Shane van Gisbergen, Chaz Mostert, Todd Hazelwood, Fabian Coulthard, Lee Holdsworth and Anton De Pasquale completing the top 10.
“Am. I allowed to do burnouts?” Waters asked his team during the cool down lap, “I want to do a burnout.”
“The car was awesome, we made it a little bit better between the two races and I got a good start and I was away,” Waters explained to Fox Sports. “The boys did a mega job in the pitstop, I couldn’t have done it without them. To reward them for all the hard work they’ve put in is just awesome. Happy and pumped, I was excited to blow the rears off the car. I’d been nursing them the whole race and just wanted to get rid of them.”
Second place gave Scott McLaughlin an insurmountable lead in the Championship as he became a triple Supercars Champion.
“It was a fantastic day for us and a pretty solid weekend. The two poles today helped our whole cause and the championship.” McLaughlin told Shell V-Power media. “It was a bit unfortunate for Jamie in the first race as it allowed us to be in a position to be able to capture the championship today, and we managed to do that.”
“It really makes our job a lot nicer for Bathurst as we have less things to worry about and we can just focus on the biggest race of the year. I’m really looking forward to that.”
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