Scott McLaughlin has claimed Volvo’s first race win in Australia since the late 1990s SuperTouring era, winning the fourth and final V8 Supercars support race at Albert Park. After a consistent weekend, the young Kiwi took overall round honours, with the final race attracting double points.
McLaughlin improved one spot from his fourth-placed grid position after jumping Craig Lowndes’ Holden at the race’s double-file rolling start, while Shane van Gisbergen – winner of all three preceding races – once again held the lead through a frantic opening lap.
But the Tekno Autosports driver was being pushed hard by fellow front-row starter Fabian Coulthard, who showed plenty of aggression with a tyre-smoking pass on van Gisbergen at Turn 14 before the end of the lap. The pair made contact exiting the corner, leading to handling imbalanced for both that ultimately cost them victory.
Van Gisbergen came off worse, steadily falling down the field as his grip fell away, while McLaughlin quickly closed in on Coulthard, using his superior straight-line speed to blast by the Brad Jones Holden and outbrake him into Turn 3 to assume the lead.
The safety car made a brief appearance following the retirement of Todd Kelly’s Nissan, which stopped at Turn 7 with a holed radiator, but racing was underway a lap later, with McLaughlin quickly skipping away into the lead.
The dramas for the Nissan stable didn’t end after Todd Kelly’s retirement. Two laps later his brother Rick and stablemate James Moffat were stranded in the Turn 9 kitty litter, along with a furious Jamie Whincup.
The younger Kelly sibling scored a rather dramatic own goal, clipping the back of the fourth Nissan of Michael Caruso on approach to the corner, and with no front-left suspension and braking, he careered into an unsighted Moffat and Whincup, who were waging their own battle a few metres up the road. Robert Dahlgren was also caught out in the melee, retiring his Volvo S60 with a blown tyre.
Despite three cars beached in the gravel, the race ran to the finish with double-waved yellows at the corner. McLaughlin maintained his lead from Lowndes and took a delighted victory, while the sole surviving Nissan of Caruso managed to out-drag Garth Tander’s Holden out of the final corner to claim the final podium spot by four thousandths of a second.
The series now packs up and heads to Symmons Plains for the second round of the 2014 championship season in two weeks time.
2014 V8 Supercars MSS Security Challenge – Race 4 Results (12 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Scott McLaughlin||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||25:35.416|
|2.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 1.087|
|3.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||+ 6.592|
|4.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 6.596|
|5.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 7.360|
|6.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 7.525|
|7.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG||+ 7.698|
|8.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / Holden Commodore VF||+ 8.993|
|9.||Tim Slade||SuperCheap Auto Racing / Holden Commodore VF||+ 11.511|
|10.||Lee Holdsworth||Erebus Motorsport / Mercedes E63 AMG||+ 12.819|
|11.||Scott Pye*||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG||+ 16.992|
|12.||Russell Ingall||Repair Management / Holden Commodore VF||+ 18.370|
|13.||Nick Percat||Walkinshaw Racing/ Holden Commodore VF||+ 18.622|
|14.||Shane van Gisbergen||TEKNO VIP Petfoods / Holden Commodore VF||+ 21.050|
|15.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Ford Falcon FG||+ 21.189|
|16.||Jack Perkins||Jeld-Wen / Ford Falcon FG||+ 22.420|
|17.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Ford Falcon FG||+ 30.837|
|18.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Holden Commodore VF||+ 1:10.039|
|DNF.||James Moffat||Nissan Hornets / Nissan Altima||8 laps|
|DNF.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing / Holden Commodore VF||8 laps|
|DNF.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||8 laps|
|DNF.||Robert Dahlgren||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM / Volvo S60||8 laps|
|DNF.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Altima||6 laps|
|DNS.||Dale Wood||Team ADVAM / Holden Commodore VF|
|DNS.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew FPR / Ford Falcon FG|
Image via V8 Supercars Media