Shane van Gisbergen led home a Red Bull Holden Racing Team one-two in the ITM Auckland SuperSprint opener at Pukekohe Park on Saturday. The Kiwi driver converted his ARMOR ALL Pole into his third race victory of the season.
“It’s a dream come true to claim pole position and have a win here at Pukekohe today, but we are not going to get ahead of ourselves,” commented van Gisbergen. “As we saw today, the car can still be better tomorrow because in the middle sector we got stuck and couldn’t pass. We really need to maximise tomorrow’s qualifying session again to start up the front of the grid and not get stuck behind.”
Jamie Whincup has lost his second-place finish due to a post-race time penalty for ‘careless driving’. A 15-second post-race penalty was applied after he spun Nick Percat at the Turn 8 hairpin on lap two, dropping Whincup to sixth. The change elevates Cameron Waters to second and David Reynolds to third.
It was a solid day for the Shell V-Power Racing Team at Pukekohe Park Raceway today, with both cars in the Top 10 all day long. Final stops for Coulthard and McLaughlin occurred two laps apart, with the pair slotting into an effective fifth and sixth places for the run to the flag.
Coulthard began to struggle with a slow leak in his left front tyre, so had to be cautious and eventually a position to Lee Holdsworth. They crossed the finish line with McLaughlin fifth and Coulthard seventh.
“Coming from sixth was always going to be tough, and the changes to the Holdens have clearly given them something,” said McLaughlin after the race. “We made some gains in the race, and I have to be happy with the result overall as it’s given us some good direction for tomorrow.
“The safety car probably didn’t fall nicely for us, but overall a reasonably smooth race. Finishing in the top five when we aren’t at our best is a strong result. We’ll aim to get back up the front tomorrow.”
McLaughlin continues to lead the Championship by 577 points over race winner Shane Van Gisbergen, with Coulthard in third 24 points further back. Shell V-Power Racing Team continues to lead the Teams’ points, with a 786-point buffer over Triple Eight.