MCLAUGHLIN BACK ON TOP IN PERTHBen Nightingale
PIRTEK PERTH SUPERNIGHT – SATURDAY, MAY 4 – PRACTICE, QUALIFYING AND RACE
Fabian Coulthard – No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Practice 3 – 5th (Fastest Lap: 53.6480s)
Qualifying – 5th (Fastest Lap: 53.4001s)
Race 12 – 4th (Fastest Lap: 53.9557s)
Scott McLaughlin – No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Practice 3 – 1st (Fastest Lap: 53.3841s)
Qualifying – 1st (Fastest Lap: 52.9052s)
Race 12 – 1st (Fastest Lap: 53.7958s – Fastest Lap of the Race)
RECAP: McLaughlin started from pole after taking his ninth ARMOR ALL pole award earlier this afternoon. Coulthard would start the final race of the PIRTEK Perth SuperNight from fifth. Jamie Whincup got the jump off the start, leading McLaughlin into Turn 1. Fabian dropped into sixth off the start, behind Andre Heimgartner.
McLaughlin set a 54.1115s time on lap two, the fastest time to that point. He then improved that to a 54.1068s lap on lap five. By that stage he was 0.4s behind Whincup, with Coulthard still sixth, three-seconds further back.
Coulthard pitted from sixth on lap 12 for his first stop. It was a good stop saw him rejoin 19th, and first of those who’d stopped to that point. McLaughlin was 0.5s back from Whincup on lap 14, with a stop to follow.
Coulthard set about some fast laps immediately after his stop, dropping in a 53.9557s on lap 14.
McLaughlin pitted on lap 17 for his first fuel and tyres stop, which was a strong one. He pulled out in front of Coulthard in p16 and was ordered to push. He reset the fastest lap with a 53.8016s effort on lap 19 while looking for the undercut on Whincup. He did it again on the following lap with a 53.7958, less than seven-hundredths off the lap record.
Whincup pitted from the lead on lap 25, but McLaughlin’s speed saw Whincup forced to drop in behind Car No.17. That made the effective order McLaughlin p1, Whincup p2 and Coulthard p3.
By lap 35 McLaughlin had a six-second lead over Whincup, with Coulthard four-seconds further back
Coulthard took his final stop on lap 47, from third on the road. It was a long stop due to fuel load, rejoining 13th and first of the second stoppers.
A Safety Car was called on lap 49 for a stranded Scott Pye at the final turn. McLaughlin pitted from the lead, and kept it through the stop, rejoining ahead of Whincup, Waters and Coulthard.
At the restart on lap 54, Coulthard battled Waters into turn one in an attempt to take back p3, but he couldn’t get far enough alongside, and had to drop back into fourth.
McLaughlin pulled away from Whincup, with a 1.6s lead by lap 60. Coulthard continued to battle Waters for the final podium spot, the gap remaining under half a second. With 10 laps remaining McLaughlin was out to a 2.5s lead over Whincup, with Coulthard p4, 0.6s behind Waters.
The gap grew to 2.8s across the final laps of the race. Coulthard never got further than 0.6s behind Waters, but just didn’t have enough to challenge him.
At the chequered flag McLaughlin took his eighth win of the season, making it four-in-a-row for Shell V-Power Racing Team. The win extended his Championship lead over teammate Coulthard to 142 points. The Teams’ points lead is now 589 points over Triple Eight.
COULTHARD QUOTE: “We didn’t quite get it right in qualifying today, and starting a bit further back hurt our chances as track position is key around this place. Still, it was a decent race and we moved forward. The team worked hard, great stops and we’re taking another big bag of points away. Another podium would have been nice, but we’ll take those points. Next one is Winton, I took a win there last year so I’m looking forward to it.”
MCLAUGHLIN QUOTE: “I’m stoked. That was my first night win, I really enjoyed it here in Perth, it was such an awesome spectacle. Shell V-Power Racing Team gave us an awesome car, and that was the best way to respond. I made another balls-up off the start, so I’ve got to look at it. But we got it back and got the win. Thanks to the team, amazing work. To come out and take both poles and both wins this weekend as a team is a sensational way to respond to everything that’s been going on. I’m just so proud of everyone.”