TWO PODIUM FINISHES ON FINAL DAY AT TOWNSVILLE SUPERSPRINTmegan
TOWNSVILLE SUPERSPRINT – SUNDAY 6 SEPTEMBER – QUALIFYING, RACE 23 AND RACE 24
Fabian Coulthard – No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying for Race 23: 16th (Fastest Lap: 1m12.8765s)
Qualifying for Race 24: 14th (Fastest Lap: 1m12.5802s)
Race 23: 20th (Fastest Lap: 1m14.5618s)
Race 24: 8th (Fastest Lap: 1m14.3977s)
Scott McLaughlin – No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying for Race 23: 2nd (Fastest Lap: 1m12.3423s)
Qualifying for Race 24: 10th (Fastest Lap: 1m12.4599s)
Race 23: 2nd (Fastest Lap: 1m14.1646s)
Race 24: 3rd (Fastest Lap: 1m14.0844s)
RACE 23 RECAP
McLaughlin claimed the second step on the podium in Race 23, but unfortunately for Coulthard, heavy damage to the right rear of his car caused on the opening lap meant he finished down the pack in P20.
In Qualifying, McLaughlin was just pipped for pole position by 0.08 seconds and started in P2. Coulthard clocked a time that was only good enough for P16.
McLaughlin wasn’t able to match the pace of Percat off the line at the start of the race. As he slowed to tuck in behind Percat heading into turn 2, McLaughlin was passed by van Gisbergen around the outside pushing him back to P3. Coulthard was caught up in the usual push and shove of the battle pack and lost two places after a solid hit to the rear. He dropped to P18.
Coulthard lost more places before making his compulsory stop on lap 15. McLaughlin visited pit lane on the following lap and took on three tyres. A slight delay in his stop meant Whincup nearly jumped him and was just millimetres behind him coming out of pit lane.
Whincup put the pressure on, but McLaughlin got a chance to make his getaway on the next lap when Hazelwood rejoined the race from pit lane between them. McLaughlin left Whincup to negotiate how he would pass Hazelwood and focussed on closing the gap to van Gisbergen.
Race leader Percat make his pit stop late but didn’t challenge van Gisbergen and McLaughlin when he rejoined, leaving the two as effective race leaders. Although Percat had younger tyres and made some ground, he never challenged the three podium-sitters ahead.
With heavy damage to the right rear of his Ford Mustang, Coulthard was only able to place as high as P20. McLaughlin finished where he started in P2 and claimed his 15th podium of the season.
RACE 24 RECAP
McLaughlin fought valiantly in the intense final stages of Race 24 to finish on the podium in P3. Coulthard made up an impressive six places from his starting position to finish in P8.
In Qualifying, McLaughlin was on for a top-three time before being impeded by Jacobson at the final corner. He lost three tenths in the process and finished P10. Coulthard set the fasted time in the first group of cars that went out in the session, but got bumped down the order and started P14.
The Shell V-Power Racing Team drivers stayed out of trouble on the opening lap of the 39-lap sprint, and both moved up two places. It wasn’t long before McLaughlin found himself again battling his Red Bull Racing rival van Gibergen for position.
McLaughlin made his compulsory stop early on lap 8, and hoped that clean air and an undercut would help his campaign. It did, and once the field had completed their stops, McLaughlin was the race leader. Coulthard ran a longer first stint not stopping until lap 17 for fresh tyres and once all stops were completed, was up to P8.
The safety car was called on lap 25, just as van Gibergen pitted. While he rejoined the race behind Coulthard down in P9, the safety car gave him a considerable advantage over the cars ahead as he was on much newer tyres.
The race restarted with 9 laps to go, and it was a matter tyre life that would decide the winner. Hazelwood wasn’t letting McLaughlin get away when racing resumed, but pressure on Hazelwood from Whincup who was behind him meant McLaughlin could concentrate on pulling a gap.
Whincup passed Hazelwood with 7 laps remaining and was hunting down the No. 17 Mustang. Van Gisbergen would soon join his teammate in trying to catch McLaughlin. With fresher tyres on the Red Bull cars, McLaughlin wasn’t able to fend them off, and with 3 laps to go, both van Gisbergen and Whincup passed him.
McLaughlin was able to hang on for a podium position and finished in P3, seven places up from his starting position. Coulthard will be investigated post-race for passing under the safety car, but he crossed the line in P8, six places up from where he started.
McLaughlin leads the Driver’s Championship by 143 over Whincup. Coulthard is still in P7. The Shell V-Power Racing Team is second in the Teams’ Championship trailing Red Bull Racing by just 42 points.
“In the first qualifying session it was tough, and we were the wrong side of a tenth again. We made some improvements for the second qualifying session, but it wasn’t quite enough. We need to find more speed in the car.”
“Race 23 was absolutely shocking and I struggled with the car. But I had a good second race, made some awesome passes and moved forward from 14th to 8th. “
“We kept up the fight and improved our car today. I’m actually leaving pretty positive. I think we found a gain in our car that works for me, and I’m looking forward to building on that for The Bend.”
“It wasn’t too bad a day because we had a really fast car. I think the first qualifying session today was good because I got P2 and I was happy with that. But in the second qualifying session, I got held up at the end of my lap which I think would have put me somewhere between 2nd and 4th. Instead, I got 10th.”
“In Race 23, the car wasn’t exactly amazing, but we finished 2nd because of a good strategy call. We tuned up the car for Race 24, and it was mint. We pitted for tyres and some clean air, and the car looked after the tyres so well. We managed to bring it home in 3rd.”