TROPHIES AND HEARTBREAK ON THE FINAL DAY OF RACING AT THE BENDmegan
THE BEND SUPERSPRINT – SUNDAY 27 SEPTEMBER – QUALIFYING, RACE 29 AND RACE 30
Fabian Coulthard – No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying: Race 29: 2nd (Fastest Lap: 1m15.4782s)
Qualifying: Race 30: 5th (Fastest Lap: 1m15.6196s)
Race 29: DNF (Fastest Lap: 1m16.9642s)
Race 30: 8th (Fastest Lap: 1m17.0839s)
Scott McLaughlin – No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying: Race 29: 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m15.4506s)
Qualifying: Race 30: 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m15.3493s)
Race 29: 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m16.8108s)
Race 30: 2nd (Fastest Lap: 1m16.9061s)
Trophies, podiums, pole positions, a Champion elect, and heartbreak – it all happened on the final day of racing at The Bend SuperSprint.
ACE 29 RECAP
Race 29 proved to be highly emotional for the Shell V-Power Racing Team. While McLaughlin claimed another race win, Coulthard had a heartbreaking finish to his race. He was comfortably sitting in P2 when a mechanical problem ended his race early.
For the second time this season, it was a Shell V-Power Racing Team front-row lockout for the start of Race 29. Coulthard’s qualifying lap time of 1m15.4782s was the second quickest of the session, just 0.02 seconds away from teammate McLaughlin who was on pole.
Coulthard got a superb jump off the start line and led the race over his teammate as they went into turn 1. McLaughlin defended against Whincup to hold onto P2. Five laps in and Coulthard was 0.6 seconds clear of the pack.
With a third Championship win on the line, Coulthard didn’t make it difficult for McLaughlin to pass him on lap 7 and take control of the race. Just 3 laps later, Coulthard pitted for his compulsory stop. It was a clean and fast stop, and he returned in front of De Pasquale, in P12.
McLaughlin had a lead of 1.5 seconds when he made his stop on lap 12. He rejoined the race ahead of Coulthard, but Whincup was yet to stop with his team opting to leave him out in clear air. When he finally did stop, his crew had an issue which cost him around 3-4 seconds. He rejoined down the order and posed no threat to the Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustangs who were effective race leaders.
With 10 laps to go Coulthard had a heartbreaking mechanical problem which saw him lose power and park it up on the grass. Simultaneously, Reynolds also had a mechanical failure which saw him parked on the track and safety car called.
The race restart came with just 7 laps to go, and McLaughlin wasted no time blazing away. While van Gisbergen was charging through the field on fresh tyres, he didn’t threaten McLaughlin who won his 56th Supercars race by more than 1.1 seconds.
RACE 30 RECAP
McLaughlin was crowned the Supercars Champion elect after claiming his 21st podium of the season with P2, while Coulthard was well inside the top 10 in P8.
Having taken a clean sweep of pole positions in qualifying today, McLaughlin again started P1 for the final race of The Bend SuperSprint. Coulthard had another solid qualifying session as well and started in P5.
Lining up next to McLaughlin on the front row, Waters was quick off the start line and took the outside line through turn 1 which saw him take control of the race. McLaughlin was left to hold off Whincup and slot into P2. Meanwhile, Coulthard dropped one place on the opening lap, but on lap 3, he made up the place he lost as passed Mostert.
Again, Coulthard was the first of the Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustangs to stop for fresh tyres on lap 8. On the exit, Coulthard had Courtney just ahead, but after crossing the speed limit line he fired around him as Courtney struggled to accelerate.
McLaughlin followed Waters into pit lane on lap 9, but the No. 17 wasn’t able to jump him during the stop. They rejoined the race with Whincup thundering down the straight hoping to get past, but he wasn’t fast enough, and they resumed the order of Waters, McLaughlin, Whincup.
With all stops completed and 11 laps remaining, McLaughlin was still in P2 with Waters ahead and Whincup behind. Coulthard was in P7 with van Gisbergen behind, but with fresher tyres, van Gisbergen moved past Coulthard dropping him to back to P8. Their positions remained unchanged to the flag with McLaughlin finishing P2 and Coulthard P8.
McLaughlin is now 305 points ahead of Whincup and is the Supercars Champion elect. Coulthard is on 1560 points and in P7. The Shell V-Power Racing Team is 100 points ahead of Triple 8 in the Teams’ Championship standings.
“We qualified well in both sessions and were having a good run in the first race today, but unfortunately the mechanical failure put us out of that race. I was running P2 and a 1-2 would have been nice, and would have made Scott’s run for the championship a little bit easier.”
“I came through I think turn 8, and on the downshift into 6th, it felt like there was a little bit of movement within the gearbox. When I came through turn 8, I went on the throttle and there was just no drive, so I had no option but to leave the circuit.”
“All-in-all, not a bad weekend but I just didn’t get the results to show for it. But we were fortunate after the first race today to get the car fixed and out for the second one.”
“It was a fantastic day for us and a pretty solid weekend. The two poles today helped our whole cause and the championship.”
“It was a bit unfortunate for Jamie in the first one as it allowed us to be in a position to be able to capture the championship today, and we managed to do that.”
“It really makes our job a lot nicer for Bathurst as we have less things to worry about and we can just focus on the biggest race of the year. I’m really looking forward to that.”