MCLAUGHLIN WINS THE 1000TH ATTC/VASC RACE

BEAUREPAIRES MELBOURNE 400 – SATURDAY, MARCH 16 – RACES 4 & 5
Fabian Coulthard – No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford

Race 4 – 5th (Fastest Lap: 1m57.2283s)
Race 5 – 5th (Fastest Lap: 1m57.1216s)

Scott McLaughlin – No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford

Race 4 – 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m56.7813s)
Race 5 – DNS (Fastest Lap: N/A)

RECAP: In a sign of solidarity with the people of New Zealand, both Shell V-Power Mustangs wore black mirror caps with silver ferns at Albert Park today, in honour of the victims of the Christchurch attacks. 

Scott and Fabian also wore silver ferns on their helmets in an additional tribute. 

The second race of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 weekend would be a 13-lap sprint around the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit.

Scott McLaughlin got a solid start from pole to lead into the first corner, with Coulthard slotting into fifth, with Cameron Waters in second. McLaughlin set the fastest lap of the race on lap three, and had a two-second lead by lap five

Coulthard struggled with balance, tuning the car with the roll bars as he looked to pass Whincup who sat in fourth. By lap 10 the gap was over four-seconds, now to Mostert with Waters having been relegated to third.

Coulthard was solid in fifth, sandwiched between Whincup and Davison. As they started the last lap McLaughlin was three-seconds ahead of Mostert, eventually winning the 1000th ever Australian Touring Car/Supercars race by 2.5s to maintain his perfect start to 2019. Coulthard finished fifth.

McLaughlin again dedicated the victory to the people of Christchurch, his home town. 

The second race of the day would be over before it began for McLaughlin in extremely bizarre circumstances. While on the out lap for this evening’s 25-lap, 130km race, Tickford’s Cameron Waters came into contact with Scott McLaughlin, forcing them both into pit lane prior to the race start. 

The damage was too great to repair, so Scott’s car did not start the race. With the front row of the grid empty, Fabian’s fifth place start effectively became a third placed start. 

After a slow start, Coulthard slotted into fifth place on the road, and settled in there. By lap five was just under one second behind Reynolds. 

A late Safety Car period was called when a wheel came off Shane van Gisbergen’s Triple Eight Holden, however the result was unchanged with Coulthard securing another fifth place finish. He is now sixth in the points.

McLaughlin continues to lead the Championship by 24 points over Whincup. The team remains at the top of the Teams’ Points, with a 64 point lead over Triple Eight.

COULTHARD QUOTE: “We just haven’t quite got our balance there. We’re trying hard, Mark [Fenning, Engineer] and I to get it there, but we don’t have the front as accurate as we’d like it to be. Normally I go really well here, I know what to do, I’m just not able to do it. We’ve pulled a great bunch of points, and if the car isn’t good we have to salvage as many points as possible and that’s what we’re doing. Guys have finished fifth all year and won championships, so I can’t be too unhappy. What happened to Scott was really unfortunate, I had a front row seat for what happened and he was pretty much the innocent guy in it. It happens, but I feel very sorry for all of the car 17 guys.”

MCLAUGHLIN QUOTE: “It was awesome to win the 1000th ever Australian Touring Car race this afternoon. I love a good stat, so that’s a very cool thing. It’s a real shame about what happened this afternoon, but we race humans and humans make mistakes. I’m just really sorry for my team, who have a damaged car to repair tonight. Eyes forward, we get another opportunity tomorrow and we’ll try to grab another win.”

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS 
 
1.Scott McLaughlin       450 
2.Jamie Whincup          426-24
3.Chaz Mostert  391-59
4.Will Davison388-62
5.Tim Slade358-92
6.Fabian Coulthard350-100
7.David Reynolds338-112
8.Nick Percat325-125
9.Shane Van Gisbergen310-140
10.Cameron Waters306-144

TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS 
 
1.Shell V-Power Racing Team 800 
2.Triple Eight Race Engineering (Whincup/SVG)736-64
3.Tickford Racing (Waters/Davison)694-106
4.Brad Jones Racing683-117
5.Tickford Racing (Mostert/Holdsworth)630-170
6.Erebus Motorsport576-224
7.Walkinshaw Racing456-344
8.Nissan Motorsport (Kelly/Heimgartner)429-371
9.Garry Rogers Motorsport381-419
10.Nissan NISMO (De Silvestro/Jacobsen)357-443