It feels like an eternity, but it’s actually just fourteen races: Scott McLaughlin has delivered Volvo’s first V8 Supercars Championship victory with an impressive driving display in today’s opening SuperSprint race at Barbagallo Raceway.
McLaughlin had tasted victory in a non-championship race during the Australian Grand Prix, and after claiming his fourth pole position of the season, he delivered with a controlled drive over the 42-lap race.
The 100-kilometre sprint races held to-date have, historically, not features pit stops, but such was the abrasive nature of the West Australian circuit that almost the entire field opted to pit for fresh rubber during the race.
Only Shane van Gisbergen and Jack Perkins – both starting well down the order and with nothing to lose – opted to dry and run non-stop. For van Gisbergen, who just cannot get it together here, the gamble failed: he ran in the lead as other pitted, but was overhauled by his freshly-shod rivals and finished last.
Perkins showed better race pace and didn’t quite suffer the same fate, falling to twelfth in the end, which was still a significant improvement on his starting position.
Up at the sharp end of the field, pole-winner McLaughlin wasn’t able to vault into the lead, getting jumped by Craig Lowndes and a rapid-starting Russell Ingall at the start.
But the Kiwi ultimately proved quickest of all, making amends on Ingall early in the race and then getting ahead of Lowndes just as the field opted to head to the pits.
He ran untroubled to the end, keeping enough in hand from a fast-closing Fabian Coulthard to claim victory.
Chaz Mostert completed the top-three, overtaking teammate and championship leader Mark Winterbottom in the closing laps, courtesy of fresher tyres as a result of pitting five laps after his team leader.
Winterbottom – along with former teammate Will Davison – was actually one of the first to pit and actually held the lead once the pit stops had been cycled through, but ultimately the pair were passed by McLaughlin’s quicker Volvo, with the Kiwi then setting about passing Perkins and van Gisbergen.
2014 V8 Supercars Perth 400 – Race 1 Results (42 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Scott McLaughlin||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||41:12.485|
|2.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 0.754|
|3.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG||+ 1.336|
|4.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG||+ 3.823|
|5.||Lee Holdsworth||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 6.292|
|6.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 6.592|
|7.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 12.363|
|8.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||+ 15.589|
|9.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 15.958|
|10.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Ford Falcon FG||+ 16.199|
|11.||Russell Ingall||Repair Management / Holden Commodore VF||+ 18.768|
|12.||Jack Perkins||Jeld-Wen / Ford Falcon FG||+ 20.293|
|13.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Holden Commodore VF||+ 21.210|
|14.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG||+ 21.491|
|15.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 21.775|
|16.||Dale Wood||Team ADVAM / Holden Commodore VF||+ 22.172|
|17.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 22.460|
|18.||Scott Pye||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG||+ 22.705|
|19.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||+ 28.038|
|20.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||+ 28.518|
|21.||James Moffat||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||+ 28.724|
|22.||Nick Percat||Walkinshaw Racing/ Holden Commodore VF||+ 30.444|
|23.||Tim Slade||SuperCheap Auto Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 30.883|
|24.||Robert Dahlgren||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||+ 33.838|
|25.||Shane van Gisbergen||TEKNO VIP Petfoods / Holden Commodore VF||+ 39.550|
Image via V8 Supercars Championship Media