PERFECT START FOR MCLAUGHLIN IN ADELAIDEBen Nightingale
ADELAIDE 500 – SUNDAY, MARCH 3 – QUALIFYING, SHOOTOUT & RACE
Fabian Coulthard – No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying – 5th (Fastest Lap: 1m19.6117s)
Top 10 Shootout – 3rd (relegated to 10th) (Fastest Lap: 1m20.0364s)
Race 2 – 20th (Fastest Lap: 1m20.8269s)
Scott McLaughlin – No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying – 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m19.4626s)
Top 10 Shootout – 1st (relegated to 10th) (Fastest Lap: 1m19.6626s)
Race 2 – 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m20.7008s)
RECAP: For the second day running, both Shell V-Power Racing Mustangs booked a place in the Top 10 Shootout. Scott McLaughlin put his car on pole in sensational style, while Fabian Coulthard took third. Unfortunately for Coulthard, he was relegated to 10th after being excluded from the Shootout when the team had to pop the bonnet in pit lane before his run.
The race start was delayed by 25 minutes this afternoon due to a loose manhole cover at Turn 1, which required repair. It was only discovered when the Course Car completed a final run immediately prior to the scheduled race start. This meant the race would be time certain from the beginning, scheduled to finish at 5:25pm plus one lap.
Both cars got a strong start, with McLaughlin racing Shame van Gisbergen through the first series of corners before asserting his lead. After starting 10th, Fabian made moves into 9th on the opening lap and then was racing David Reynolds for p8.
By lap three Scott was out to 2.4s lead over Shane van Gisbergen, as Fabian took Reynolds on lap 4, moving into seventh and then quickly dispatched Hazelwood for sixth.
Cam Waters pitted on lap 9, elevating Coulthard into fifth, and he then passed Percat for fourth on lap 11. By lap 12 McLaughlin has a 4.5s lead over Van Gisbergen.
Coulthard pitted from fourth on lap 15, rejoining in 14th after taking fuel and tyres, with McLaughlin’s lead out to seven-seconds by lap 17. Coulthard set the fastest lap of the race on lap 16, with a 1m20.7269s lap.
McLaughlin pitted for the first time on lap 25, rejoining as effective leader. A caution period on lap 27 brought both cars back in. A bizarre crash for Chaz Mostert and Rick Kelly caused a blockage in pit lane, Which delayed Fabian’s departure. Coulthard then returned to the lane the following lap for fuel after an error in his first stop.
At the restart on lap 30, Scott was p3 and Fabian p21. Fabian moved into 18th across the following two laps and continued to push into 15th by lap 38. Fabian pitted for the final time on lap 41, with a wheel nut issue causing a delay. He rejoined in 21st.
McLaughlin took his last stop on lap 46, rejoining ahead of Waters and behind Van Gisbergen who was yet to stop. Van Gisbergen pitted on lap 56 from the lead, rejoining p3 behind McLaughlin and Waters. His goal to use fresher tyres to pass the Mustangs on the road.
Fabian was then involved in an incident with Garry Jacobsen, which meant he was being investigated for an unsafe pass. He then received a drive through penalty, which dropped him back down to 20th place.
Van Gisbergen used his newer tyres to drive up to the rear of Waters, but was unable to get by.
McLaughlin took his second race win of the weekend to open his 2019 account in perfect style. With a race marred by trouble in pit lane, Coulthard finished 20th.
Scott leads the Drivers’ points, with Fabian 11th. The team is second in the Teams’ title.
COULTHARD QUOTE: “I’m a little bit low. Obviously we had really good pace, and got the first pole for the Mustang which was really cool. Scotty then backed that up with two wins, so it’s nice that our team got the first poles and the first race wins for Mustang. We’ve spent a lot of time developing this car, starting from scratch in CAD to what you see on the track today and a successful race car. For me, we were fast, but some things were out of my control and we probably should have been on the podium quite easily today. But with what happened in the pits, it just wasn’t our day. On the upside, we’re heading to the Grand Prix and we normally go well there. We’ve got a really good buggy, so I’m looking forward to it.”
MCLAUGHLIN QUOTE: “It was fantastic to have the team from Ford Performance and Ford Australia here this weekend, and great to share the podium with Mark Rushbrook. We also had Jonathan Gibson from Team Penske here, so it’s been a really big weekend. It’s massive for the sport, and massive for our team. It’s been an awesome weekend. We had to work for it, and we ended up having the perfect day today, and an awesome start to the season. I’m stoked.”