McLAUGHLIN WINS NIGHT RACE AT SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARKmegan
SYDNEY SUPERSPRINT – SATURDAY 18 JULY – QUALIFYING, T15S AND RACE 10
Fabian Coulthard – No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying Part 1: 12th (Fastest Lap: 1m30.1445s)
Qualifying Part 2:Q 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m28.4646s)
Top 15 Shootout: 6th (Fastest Lap: 1m28.3859s)
Race 10: 7th (Fastest Lap: 1m32.2413)
Scott McLaughlin – No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying Part 1: 5th (Fastest Lap: 1m29.5981s)
Qualifying Part 2: 11th (Fastest Lap: 1m29.7843s)
Top 15 Shootout: 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m27.7428s)
Race 10: 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m31.3937)
After setting yet another Qualifying track lap record earlier today, McLaughlin continued his form to comfortably win the night race at Sydney Motorsport Park.
With only three sets of hard tyre compounds and two sets of softs allocated for this event, tyre selection was very much game of poker between teams.
Using a set of green soft tyres, McLaughlin clocked a Qualifying lap record with a time of 1:27m7428s, smashing the time he set during the last Sydney SuperSprint event. He claimed his 64th career pole and 9th at Sydney Motorsport Park.
After progressing through the two-part Qualifying session, Coulthard was the last driver out on track in the Top 15 Shootout and used the same soft tyres as the previous session. He clocked a time good enough for P6.
Both the Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustangs started Race 10 on hard tyres, as the majority of their competitors did. While both McLaughlin and Coulthard had an explosive start off the line, they were both quickly overtaken by those on soft tyres. At the end of the third lap, McLaughlin was in P5 and Coulthard P6.
The first stint was somewhat processional with McLaughlin and Coulthard holding their positions and were the highest placed of all the cars on hard tyres. McLaughlin made his compulsory stop on lap 11 and swapped to soft tyres. On lap 16, Holdsworth rejoined the race just ahead of McLaughlin after pitting for a second set of soft tyres. McLaughlin didn’t back down from a battle, and after a slight nudge of panels, passed Holdsworth at turn three.
By lap 20, Coulthard was sitting in P2 and was starting to eat away at the margin to Red Bull’s van Gisbergen in P1. Coulthard ran long on his hard tyres and after leading the race for a short time, was one of the final cars in the field to stop with just 12 laps remaining. He ran an alternate tyre strategy to his teammate and stayed on hard tyres, saving his soft rubber for tomorrow’s races.
With 10 laps to go and all stops completed, McLaughlin was leading with a gap of just one second to Holdsworth who was hot on is tail. Coulthard was in P9 and had moved up another two to places by the closing stages of the 130km race. Positions remained unchanged to the chequered flag with McLaughlin winning and rounding out a perfect day, and Coulthard finishing in P7.
McLaughlin extends his lead the championship by 26 points to a 75 point lead, with Coulthard advancing from 13th to 11th in the standings.
“I thought our day was solid – in both practice sessions we were P3, and I did a good lap time in the shootout to get P6 on used tyres. Our strategy and decision making on the run was good by all our guys here.”
“For us to move forward in the race was good. We probably could have used a set of softs and got to about 4th but we didn’t lose too much running two sets of hard tyres. It leaves us in a good position for tomorrow.”
“I’m still a little shocked as to why some people put all their eggs in one basket tonight and haven’t let themselves much for tomorrow, but we’ll just worry about ourselves.”
“Far out, the car was so good on both compounds today, and I was really proud of the guys during the pit stop. These guys have been working so hard at the Shell V-Power Racing Team to get our pit stops right and consistent. And every time I come in, it’s just mint.”
“I had a solid day with a pole and a race win; you can’t get much better. We set ourselves up with a strategy that was similar to a lot of people, but hopefully this sets us up well for tomorrow.”