DJR Team Penske teammates Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin have claimed a 1-2 finish at the TyrePower Tasmania SuperSprint at Symmons Plains Raceway.
The result was the team’s first race victory at a championship round under its new joint ownership structure – the outfit had claimed three wins at the non-championship races supporting the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago.
With the track conditions still wet after the day’s early rain showers, Coulthard held his nerve through the first half of the race before taking full advantage of a Safety Car period triggered by a crash for Tim Blanchard at the halfway point of the race.
With Prodrive Racing stablemates Cameron Waters and Jason Bright gambling to start the race on slick tyres, the start of the race saw polesitter Jamie Whincup claim the early race lead on the short dash to the first corners.
Unlike yesterday, the field managed to avoid any multi-car accident mayhem, but Bright quickly came to grief with a heavy crash into the tyres near the pit lane entry.
Also striking trouble were James Moffat and Todd Kelly, who both found themselves tipped into spins in separate incidents exiting the hairpin. Moffat lost several laps in the pits undergoing repairs. Kelly’s assailant, championship leader Shane van Gisbergen, was handed a 15-second stop/go penalty to be served at his next pit stop which consigned the Kiwi to a ninth-placed finish.
The triggered a lengthy Safety Car period, allowing the remaining runners to make the first of two expected pit stops to take on the required fuel drop. Whincup’s slower stop saw him emerge in third place behind Chaz Mostert, while Waters’ gamble paid off as he was now up to second place.
On the restart, Whincup found himself quickly overhauled by both DJR Team Penske Fords in the still-greasy conditions, but the Red Bull driver managed to tag the back of McLaughlin’s Ford, causing concerns that the New Zealander would suffer a puncture thanks to rubbing bodywork.
Blanchard’s accident triggered the second major flurry of pit stops, which allowed Coulthard to leap into second place behind Mostert. McLaughlin’s damaged bodywork required extra attention and time in his pit stop, ensuring he would emerge behind his teammate.
The two Fords ran in close order, and the pressure tipped Mostert into a mistake with 18 laps to go. Coulthard and McLaughlin both slid into a 1-2, while a frustrated Mostert tumbled down to seventh when he rejoined the circuit.
Whincup finished in third place under intense pressure from teammate Craig Lowndes. The pair finished ahead of Erebus Motorsport driver David Reynolds, with Waters and Mostert behind him. Tim Slade, van Gisbergen and Garth Tander rounded out the top ten.
Van Gisbergen still holds the championship lead, 20 points clear of Coulthard and 51 points over team-mate Whincup.
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