Scott McLaughlin completed a Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint double on Sunday, leading home team-mate Fabian Coulthard in a Shell V-Power Racing one-two. McLaughlin won Saturday’s race despite a first-lap clash with Coulthard, but there was no such drama in the weekend’s longer, 200km affair.
Race 1 (Saturday)
McLaughlin beat Chaz Mostert to win the opening leg of the Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint, despite a first-lap clash with team-mate Fabian Coulthard. David Reynolds rounded out the podium ahead of James Courtney
A mad scramble of an opening lap saw Coulthard grab the lead from pole-sitter Mostert before running wide at Turn 3. Coulthard and a fast-starting McLaughlin were then side-by-side through the Turn 5 sweeper, making slight contact that sent them both off the track.
Coulthard rejoined at the back of the pack, while McLaughlin continued across the circuit to re-enter between turns 7 and 8, in third position.
“That was a full-on race,” commented McLaughlin. “I got a good start and got to the racing line. The seas pretty much parted for me all the way to Turn 4 and I got around the outside of Fabian and then we came together at Turn 5, and I was off and across the grass.
“We’ve talked about it, and it’s all good – no hard feelings. We’re professionals, and we’re ready to go again tomorrow. It was a split-second decision, not something we want to see but we recovered well in the end. I’m just stoked to take another win, this season is going incredibly well for our team. Hopefully we can get both cars back up there again tomorrow.”
The incident was reviewed by the stewards, with Coulthard receiving a 15-second time penalty. McLaughlin was cleared of any wrong doing, based on the driver’s briefing notes that said cars had to rejoin the circuit before the Turn 9 flag point.
Coulthard served the time penalty at his pit stop, which again pushed him down the order where he had to mount a recovery drive to salvage a result.
McLaughlin drove well across the race to put himself into a winning position, coming out in the final stint in the lead once all cars had taken their stop.
Coulthard executed a great driver to finish the race in 15th position, salvaging a reasonable result after an eventful race, maintaining his second place in the Championship.
McLaughlin took his ninth win of 2019, to extend his points lead to 232 points over Coulthard, who remains second, 129 in front of Shane van Gisbergen.
Race 2 (Sunday)
Sunday in Winton was the perfect day for the Shell V-Power Racing Team, starting with a front row lockout in qualifying.
McLaughlin then completed a Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint double leading home team-mate Fabian Coulthard in a Shell V-Power Racing one-two.
“I am really proud of everyone in the team for taking another one-two today,” commented McLaughlin. “We’re executing so well, and both Fabian and I are really enjoying getting in the cars and having a go. We are so motivated to keep this momentum up, and taking things race by race. It’s awesome knowing that we can roll out competitively at every race. That was win number 10 for 2019, but hopefully it isn’t the last one.”
Race 14 saw both cars start strongly off the front row, with McLaughlin sliding into the lead and Coulthard cleanly into second.
They were soon more than a second clear of third place, with both cars lapping in the low 1m20s bracket across the opening laps. McLaughlin set a 1m20.0718 on lap five, which would prove to be the fastest lap of the race.
McLaughlin and Coulthard built themselves a tidy buffer across the opening stint, until their first pit stops. Slick stops and good strategy had them back at the front of the pack a few laps later, as the rest of the field completed their first stops.
Coulthard took his final stop on lap 36, and was then running a managed pace to maintain tyre life across the long 31-lap stint to the flag.
McLaughlin was the last car to enter pit lane for his second stop, having built an almost minute-long lead over the field. The team executed a very slick stop, and McLaughlin rejoined the race in the lead, seven-seconds ahead of Coulthard.
The only potential challenge to victory was a Safety Car with nine laps to go, to retrieve a stranded Will Davison who was broken down at Turn 5. Some teams elected to take fresh tyres, however both Shell Mustangs remained on track.
The restart came with six laps left to run, with Scott and Fabian able to maintain position and build a small gap back to third placed Whincup.
“I thought we really maximised today,” commented Whincup. “We were aiming for a podium as that was going to be our best results and I am happy to see that we got there in the end. I had an awesome battle with Dave Reynolds through the pit spot strategies that were used.
“Initially, we thought we blew it in the first pit stop we did as it seemed we may have probably pitted a bit early. We definitely were lucky to then get a second chance on the second stop which got us back in the lead.
“A good job by (David) Cauchi and the engineers to find the pace that we needed today. We will take P3 in Winton and forever keep trying to bridge the gap to the two cars ahead.”
At the end of the race, McLaughlin took his tenth win of 2019, officially making it the most successful season of his career to date. Coulthard was second, making the result the team’s sixth 1-2 finish of the season.
McLaughlin now leads the Championship by 244 over Coulthard. Coulthard is 171 points clears of third-placed Shane van Gisbergen.
Shell V-Power Racing Team has a lead of 649 over Triple Eight in the Teams’ standings.