On the second anniversary of Shell V-Power Racing Team’s first victory, the team has achieved a repeat 1-2 result around Symmons Plains Raceway in Tasmania. Scott McLaughlin led home team mate Fabian Coulthard in a victory that has silenced many critics. With the Centre of Gravity debate dominating the week leading up to the round, the Shell V-Power Racing Team proved that they can continue the winning form demonstrated so far this season. (Centre of gravity testing after Albert Park resulted in ballast being raised to the roof of both the Mustang and Commodore, with the Ford more heavily affected.)
“Yeah, today was pretty tough,” commented McLaughlin. “I’ve definitely felt better, but there’s not much better medicine than a race win. I will have a good sleep tonight and come back better tomorrow. That was for Ford fans and our team. There has been a lot of stuff thrown at us but we just fight on. We are a strong group.”
While that result in 2017 saw Fabian Coulthard take the team’s first win, with McLaughlin second, it was a reverse of that today around the 2.4km circuit.
Despite battling a sinus infection, McLaughlin qualified a strong second before getting a brilliant start to beat pole-sitter Mark Winterbottom to the first corner. He was then able to build a gap across the opening stint of the race.
Coulthard started from fourth, slotting into third with a strong pass on David Reynolds early in the race before driving up to Winterbottom ahead of his pit stop. Coulthard took service on lap 19, using the undercut to pass Winterbottom and claim second place.
McLaughlin pitted a lap later, slotting back in front of Coulthard. The pair then were able to work together to build a gap to Winterbottom behind.
The only threat to this was Shane van Gisbergen, who took his stop late and used his fresh tyres to drive up to the final podium position, however he ran out of time to catch either of the Shell V-Power Mustangs.
“I got a rubbish start unfortunately with some driver error,” said van Gisbergen. “The first half of the race was boring as I couldn’t do anything but then it all came alive. We decided to run a little bit longer than planned because it was so hard to pass with the same tyre quality that we had on the car. Then after the pit stop, we got some good tyres and came out at the other end. Everyone was so far ahead so I didn’t think we would be able to gain much back, but we had good speed and clear air, so it was a good surprise.”
Following the 1-2 finish, McLaughlin leads Chaz Mostert in the Championship by 135 points, with Coulthard only seven points behind in third.
The team leads the Teams’ points by 227 over Brad Jones Racing, as Triple Eight have dropped to third place.