Shell V-Power Racing Team’s Fabian Coulthard has claimed the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship points lead by winning today’s first 250km race of the WD-40 Phillip Island 500.
Coulthard claimed the win after starting from second on the grid behind teammate and fellow New Zealander Scott McLaughlin. Holden’s Jamie Whincup finished second and Garth Tander recorded his first podium finish of 2017 coming in third.
The race will go down as one of the most eventful on the gruelling Phillip Island track after 11 drivers experienced tyre failure and eight drivers received pit lane infringements.
Coulthard himself experienced tyre failure in the 19th lap, but fought back to claim his second race victory in a row following his victory at Tasmania.
“We went through our fair share of misfortune, but we had a good car, we had a fast car,” Coulthard said.
“It’s a never give up attitude. We just carried on, we made sure we dotted the Is, crossed the Ts, and we got the job done.”
Among those forced to serve 15 second penalties were McLaughlin, who led for much of the race after starting on pole, Craig Lowndes and Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen, who led the championship coming into the weekend.
Whincup, a five-time winner at Phillip Island, said regardless of everything that happened around his car, his team did a good job to claim the second place.
“We didn’t have any pace but we didn’t make any mistakes and we got rewarded with a podium,” Whincup said.
Tander, also a five-time race winner at Phillip Island, said his Garry Rogers Motorsport team is very happy to have secured their first podium finish since switching from Volvo to Holden.
“Our car didn’t have the ultimate speed but its consistency was incredible. I was surprised at the speed we had,” Tander said.
Coulthard’s win was the first at Phillip Island for a Ford driver since Will Davison claimed victory in 2012.
Drivers will regroup tonight ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying for race two.