Scott McLaughlin has continued his impressive run of 2019 form in Darwin today, winning Race 1 of the Darwin Triple Crown.
The victory, his 11th of the 2019 season, came after another dominant qualifying display this morning where he claimed his 10th pole award of the year and the 600th all-time pole for Team Penske.
He dedicated the victory to his race engineer Richard Harris, whose father David passed away overnight.
“I would love to win the Triple Crown for sure, but today I wasn’t really even thinking about that,” commented McLaughlin. “This one was for Richard, my race engineer, whose dad passed away overnight. I’m not too worried about the Triple Crown right now, just the welfare of my boys.
” They did an incredible job again today. It was a bit weird having Ludo back on the radio, but we all pulled together and got it done. Very cool to take the 600th pole for Penske this morning too, I’m very proud to be a part of this organization so a milestone like that is very special. Hopefully we can continue it tomorrow.”
McLaughlin controlled the race from start to finish, gaining the lead after holding off front-row sitter David Reynolds, fast-starting Anton De Pasquale and fellow Mustang driver Will Davison into Turn 1.
Behind them chaos ensued, with two multi-car collisions across the opening laps with a Safety Car called on lap two so the recovery team could remove Tim Slade’s damaged Holden from the Turn 5 infield.
Fabian Coulthard, who started tenth after a mechanical problem in qualifying, was fortunate to avoid the melee and slotted into ninth place across the opening stint, sandwiched between Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen.
After the restart, McLaughlin quickly established a solid lead and was five-seconds in front before his compulsory pit stop.
Good work from the team in the pit stops meant that McLaughlin maintained his lead, with Chaz Mostert jumping into second place and David Reynolds third.
Across the closing 20 laps McLaughlin built an impressive lead, running consistently fast laps to cross the finish line seven-seconds in front of Mostert. It’s the first step of three in taking the fabled Darwin Triple Crown, something that has never been achieved before.
Coulthard worked hard across the 42 laps, being one of the last to pit on lap 25. He returned to the track in eighth, before passing Will Davison on the road to finish the race in seventh place for a solid top 10 result.
McLaughlin has extended his Championship lead to 298 points over Coulthard, who is 149 in front of Reynolds. Shell V-Power Racing Team is on top of the Teams’ points, 694 in front of Triple Eight.