Fabian Coulthard finished in first place just ahead of Shell V-Power Racing Ford team mate Scott McLaughlin and has now extended his lead in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. It was an action-packed opening race at Hidden Valley that saw pole-sitter Rick Kelly crash out.
Coulthard and team-mate Scott McLaughlin emerged from the chaotic race with a one-two ahead of Nick Percat, who scored his first podium since joining Brad Jones Racing.
“The undercut worked brilliantly today,” commented Couilthard. “I had Phil telling me he needed three or four of my best laps, and it worked.
“We jumped Rick (Kelly) and kept Scott behind me as well. It’s a fantastic day again for the team with another 1-2, and I’m so proud to be a part of this incredible team. To also take the team’s first ever win in the Northern Territory is pretty special – it’s been a great year so far.”
While Coulthard extended his championship lead the big loser was fellow Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen, who failed to finish after a fraught race and dropped from 37 to 187 points adrift.
McLaughlin started from the front row of the grid, holding the position and racing with then leader Rick Kelly. He tried a move around the outside of turn 1 on lap 2, ran wide and dropped to sixth.
He then worked his way back through the pack, taking the safety car restart fourth, before quickly climbing to second where he stayed behind teammate Coulthard to complete a 1-2 for the team. He is now third in the Championship, 40 points behind Coulthard.
“What a great day for the team here in Darwin,commented McLaughlin. “I made a bit of a silly error early in the race, and then had to fight back from there. The team gave me a great car, and a great strategy so it was fantastic to be able to deliver another 1-2 to them.
“Big congrats to Fabs on the win. We’ll have another crack tomorrow and try to do it again.”
DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
1 Fabian Coulthard 1210
2 Jamie Whincup 1176
3 Scott McLaughlin 1170
4 Shane van Gisbergen 1023
5 Chaz Mostert 972
6 Mark Winterbottom 861
7 Garth Tander 831
8 Craig Lowndes 822
9 David Reynolds 807
10 Cameron Waters 805
TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
1 Shell V-Power Racing Team 2415
2 Triple Eight Race Engineering (Van Gisbergen/Whincup) 2199
3 Prodrive Racing Australia (Winterbottom/Waters) 1701
4 Garry Rogers Motorsport 1527
5 Erebus Motorsport 1188
6 Brad Jones Racing 1143
7 Nissan Motorsport (R. Kelly/T. Kelly) 1113
8 HSV Racing 1059
9 Nissan NISMO (Caruso/De Silvestro) 1047
10 Prodrive Racing Australia (Mostert) 972