Will Davison has claimed his first race win for Erebus Motorsport V8 after a thrilling charge in the closing stages of Sunday’s 200-kilometre feature race of the UBET Perth SuperSprint at Barbagallo Raceway.
Davison had enjoyed a consistent weekend so far, netting his third top-ten qualifying result of the weekend ahead of Sunday’s race. But it was not until the final stages of the race – following a Safety Car interruption when his teammate Ash Walsh spun into the gravel – that his race suddenly came alive as others saw their own hopes come crashing down.
Much of the race suggested that this would be another Prodrive Racing benefit. After locking out the front row for the second time in three races, Chaz Mostert and Mark Winterbottom led the field away, although again it was the more experienced of the pair who took the lead of the race, with Mostert getting a tap from Garth Tander’s Holden through the opening corner.
David Reynolds in the third Prodrive-run Ford was quickly up to third to make it a 1-2-3 for the squad, while their fourth entry being driven by rookie Andre Heimgartner was also running inside the top-six before the first round of pit stops.
Their benefit came at the misfortune of series leader Jamie Whincup, who lost many positions with an uncharacteristic slide into the gravel early on; the reigning champion would ultimately finish a lapped 19th to cap off a scrappy weekend.
By half-distance and with the first round of pit stops complete, Winterbottom and Mostert had the race in hand with a formation 1-2, with Craig Lowndes keeping a watching brief in third.
Then everyone’s strategies were thrown when Walsh slid his Erebus AMG into the kitty litter.
The Prodrive outfit played a poor hand with their tyre strategy, and when racing resumed Winterbottom fell down the order like a stone.
Mostert briefly held the lead but couldn’t keep Lowndes at bay for the lead, and it looked as though the field’s most experienced driver would be on course to claim an astounding 100th touring car race win.
An inspired Davison, however, hadn’t read the script. He was through into second place ahead of Mostert and his superior pace over the Holden driver meant that he was threatening to crash the former champion’s party.
Crash it he did, putting in a neat move to slip by the Red Bull Holden, before easing out to a lead of over five seconds by the time the chequered flag was unfurled.
There were celebrations aplenty in the Erebus garage – team owner Betty Klimenko was speechless (a rarity!) – while a magnanimous Lowndes was left to wait for another weekend before he would create his own history.
Fabian Coulthard continued the surprising theme of the race by finishing in third place after a terrific charge through the field. The Freightliner Racing driver had qualified 24th-fastest, after being controversially sidelined from qualifying when he slid off-track and caused a red flag.
Mostert hung on to finish fourth – teammate Winterbottom would eventually finish a distant 15th, losing the championship lead he had claimed the day before – ahead of the HRT duo of James Courtney and Tander.
James Moffat finished as the best-placed Nissan in seventh, ahead of Nick Percat’s LDM Holden, Reynolds’ Bottle-O Ford and Michael Caruso in the sister Nissan.
|2015 V8 Supercars UBET Perth SuperSprint – Race 9 Final Classification (83 laps)|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8||1:25:26.727|
|2.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing Australia||+ 5.608|
|3.||Fabian Coulthard||Freightliner Racing||+ 7.374|
|4.||Chaz Mostert||Pepsi Max Crew||+ 12.122|
|5.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team||+ 14.871|
|6.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team||+ 16.764|
|7.||James Moffat||Nissan Motorsport||+ 20.177|
|8.||Nick Percat||Repair Management Racing||+ 24.562|
|9.||David Reynolds||Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 24.836|
|10.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Motorsport||+ 25.101|
Image via Christian Hartung