Scott McLaughlin has taken his first race victory of 2017 by leading home Fabian Coulthard in a one-two finish for DJR Team Penske at Barbagallo.
After locking out the front row with Coulthard pipping McLaughlin to pole, the latter had an almost perfect launch to get the race lead early.
The Triple Eight Holden’s of Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen lined up on row two, despite an earlier brown-pants moment when the Kiwi was nearly involved in an accident in the final turn. Prodrive’s Chaz Mostert and Mark Winterbottom qualified fifth and sixth.
With the two DJRTP cars getting the jump off the line, they soon bolted down the road, opening up a massive gap to the pack behind.
While the leading Fords of McLaughlin and Coulthard extended their lead, there was an overhanging feeling they would take a two stop strategy instead of the traditional and favoured one stop.
Behind them, van Gisbergen handed his position to Whincup as the defending champion seemed to struggle early on. Mostert and Winterbottom were stuck on the bumpers of their long-time rivals in front yet unable to make any major headway.
The gap between the leading pair and the rest of the pack extended to as much as seven and a half seconds, McLaughlin individually able to stretch to one and a half seconds in front of Coulthard.
The #12 and #88 cars were the first to blink, coming in for tyres in the early 20’s, thus showing nearly all of the field was on a one stop strategy.
McLaughlin’s lead was nearly destroyed by a slower than usual stop and the undercut of fresh tyres, coming out just in front of Coulthard who was being held up by Michael Caruso.
Further back in the pack and later in the race, van Gisbergen was able to pass Mostert with the aid of better rubber, the Ford driver then conceding his place to team-mate Winterbottom who had better pace still.
Nothing changed at the front with McLaughlin taking his first victory of the year and the second one-two for DJR Team Penske. Whincup came home a consistent third while in the minor placings, James Courtney, Michael Caruso, Scott Pye and Cam Waters nearly went four wide over the line.
Ford’s new heroes will be looking to repeat their feat tomorrow in the 200km feature race.
|2017 Australian Supercars Perth SuperSprint – Race 7 Top-10 Finishers (50 laps)|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power DJR Team Penske||48:58.896|
|2.||Fabian Coulthard||Shell V-Power DJR Team Penske||+ 1.300|
|3.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||+ 7.483|
|4.||Shane van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||+ 12.782|
|5.||Mark Winterbottom||The Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 13.306|
|6.||Chaz Mostert||SuperCheap Auto Racing||+ 17.960|
|7.||Craig Lowndes||TeamVortex||+ 19.371|
|8.||Will Davison||TEKNO Woodstock Racing||+ 21.987|
|9.||David Reynolds||Erebus Penrite Racing||+ 24.105|
|10.||Garth Tander||Wilson Security Racing GRM||+ 24.576|
Image via Shell V-Power Racing Team
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