Shell V-Power Racing drivers Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard produced a 1-2 finish in the first Australia Supercars Championship race at the Australian Grand Prix weekend.
“Fabs and I are from New Zealand, and I’m originally from Christchurch,” commented McLaughlin. “We heard about what had happened after qualifying, and it was a pretty big shock to the system. Just hearing the New Zealand anthem was pretty special and gave me goosebumps. I’m sending big love to everyone over there. It’s a small town, it’s hard to believe something so bad could happen there. That win was for New Zealand. Stay strong everyone.”
Both drivers got strong starts off the front row of the grid, skipping out to a half second lead by the end of lap one. McLaughlin, Coulthard and Cameron Waters started to move away from the field on lap two, forming a trio of Mustangs at the head of the field.
At the start of lap four McLaughlin was out to a one-second lead over Coulthard, with Waters a further second behind, and by lap seven the gap between McLaughlin and Coulthard was 1.9s, with Waters steady one-second further back. The gap was then 5.3s to Van Gisbergen’s Holden in fourth.
Coulthard pitted from second on lap 11, taking fuel and tyres, rejoining in 14th, first of those who’d stopped to date. At that stage, McLaughlin had a gap of 4.7s to Waters on lap 12, before pitting on lap 13 from the lead. He rejoined as effective p1, with Coulthard effective p2.
With all cars having stopped on lap 15, McLaughlin returned to the lead with Coulthard p2. From that point on McLaughlin and Coulthard managed the pace, with over 2.7s back to Waters on lap 20.
Van Gisbergen’s car expired at the exit of turn one on lap 22, leaving Mustangs as the Top 5 on the road. The two Shell V-Power Mustangs crossed the finish line first and second, four-seconds in front of third-placed Waters.
“My qualifying was bad however the race was good and fun,” said van Gisbergen. “I was trying to save tyres and push as hard as I could as there was no pace at the start with the other cars simply too fast for us. Towards the end of the race I passed a few cars and was running down at the end but then had a motor issue.
“It’s a real shame to end the race. We will check the damage, hopefully it’s a not a big fix and have another crack at it with three races to go this weekend. Overall though our day is insignificant in comparison to what happened in New Zealand. It’s very sad to see the news coming from over there. My thoughts are with all the families affected by the situation and my country.”
Both drivers dedicated their efforts to their New Zealand countrymen after the terrible attacks in Christchurch earlier today.
McLaughlin continued his perfect start to the season, with 400 points and the continued Championship lead. Coulthard has moved into ninth place, with the team at the top of the Teams’ Points.
DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
1. Scott McLaughlin 400
2. Jamie Whincup 294 -106
3. Will Davison 290 -110
4. Cameron Waters 263 -137
5. Shane Van Gisbergen 258 -142
6. Nick Percat 249 -151
7. Chaz Mostert 245 -155
8. Tim Slade 242 -158
9. Fabian Coulthard 239 -161
10. Mark Winterbottom 232 -168