WILD OPENING RACE AT DARWIN TRIPLE CROWNmegan
DARWIN TRIPLE CROWN – SATURDAY 15 AUGUST – QUALIFYING, TOP 15 SHOOTOUT AND RACE 13
Fabian Coulthard – No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying – Part 1: 7th (Fastest Lap: 1m07.7260s)
Qualifying – Part 2: 3rd (Fastest Lap: 1m07.3487s)
Top 15 Shootout: 3rd (Fastest Lap: 1m07.0315s)
Race 13 – 6th (Fastest Lap: 1m8.6409s)
Scott McLaughlin – No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying – Part 1: 4th (Fastest Lap: 1m07.6873s)
Qualifying – Part 2: 2nd (Fastest Lap: 1m07.2326s)
Top 15 Shootout: 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m06.8589s)
Race 13 – 20th (Fastest Lap: 1m9.0256s)
RACE 13 RECAP:
It was a wild opening race at Darwin Triple Crown and while Coulthard finished P6, a post-race time penalty for Championship leader McLaughlin saw him finish in P20.
The Shell V-Power Racing Team had a strong start to the day and cruised through the two ten-minute qualifying sessions to the Top 15 Shootout where McLaughlin claimed his 66th career pole position and Coulthard P3.
Tyre strategy was again the key talking point in today’s opening race with teams allocated three sets of the Dunlop hard tyre compound and two sets of the soft compound for the whole weekend.
Both McLaughlin and Coulthard opted to start the 38-lap race on the hard tyre. Whincup got a great start on his soft tyres and took the lead from McLaughlin before the first corner. Then both drivers lost an additional two spots to cars on the softer compound tyre.
A safety car was called on lap 5 after a chaotic incident that involved several cars. This saw pit lane burst into life as the entire field completed their compulsory stop. While Coulthard had to double-stack behind McLaughlin, his wait time was brief. They both took a fresh set of hard tyres.
The restart came on lap 9, but a mistake by McLaughlin saw him pass Courtney before the control line and he was handed a 15-second post-race time penalty.
On lap 16 McLaughlin was P5 and Coulthard P6 but with Coulthard showing good pace, McLaughlin let him past to chase Mark Winterbottom for a potential podium.
On lap 23, the BJR entry driven by Jones hit the wall and again the safety car was called. Eleven laps were remaining at the restart and Coulthard had his eyes set on Winterbottom who was just ahead and also on hard tyres. But cars behind on soft tyres were quicker and relegated Coulthard to P7. McLaughlin also lost track position and fell back to P8.
With the race time-certain, only 34 of the 38 laps were completed – Coulthard crossed the finish line in P7 but a 15-second post-race time penalty given to Whincup meant Coulthard was awarded P6. McLaughlin’s official finishing position was P20 after his 15-second penalty added to his race time.
McLaughlin leads the Championship by 101 points, and Coulthard moves up to P10. The Shell V-Power Racing Team still leads the Team’s Championship by 36 points.
“Today was a good day for us, we rolled both cars out the truck, and they were on the money straight away. We haven’t had to do too much to make them good, both race trim and qually trim and I qualified 3rd which was good.”
“Today has been hectic. Obviously the short turnaround between sessions is tough on the guys, but we haven’t had to make too many adjustments to the cars and its been relatively smooth sailing.”
“In the race it didn’t quite go to plan early on, we got double-stacked in the pit stop after the first safety car, but we were able to find a hole in the pit lane so we didn’t lose too many spots.”
“We used six hard tyes today which was always the plan for us. A lot of the cars in front of us ran a set of soft tyres at some point during that race, if not two sets. So on the whole, I think we were the leading car on the hard tyre strategy that we ran.”
“Today was very positive, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
“Unfortunately I had a good and bad day today. I had a great shootout lap, and the car was quick in qualifying, which is promising for tomorrow.”
“The car was really speedy there in the race on our hard tyre strategy, but I made a silly mistake on the restart, and it was totally my fault. I should know better but I just got caught up in the racing. I knew straight away I’d made a mistake, but I’ll reset for tomorrow.”
“I only lost five points in the Championship lead, so overall not too bad. At least we have car speed for tomorrow.”