Scott McLaughlin took his third win in a row and the fifth for DJR Team Penske after a cruisy win at Winton. While his win was significant, the battles behind added to the ongoing plot of the season.
In qualifying, it was McLaughlin who scored another pole position ahead of Chaz Mostert. The Red Bull cars of Jamie Whincup and Shane Van Gisbergen made up the second row while championship leader Fabian Coulthard and Nick Percat rounded out row three.
The front pair had an equal jump off the line, McLaughlin holding the inside lane on the run to turn one, coming out of the chicane on top. Mostert followed with Whincup emerging as the best of the Red Bull cars.
Percat was able to make up two spots early by getting past Coulthard at the start and getting on the inside of Van Gisbergen on the run down to turn three. Van Gisbergen was left high and dry, also getting passed by Coulthard.
Coulthard had good pace and soon got his place back from Percat. On lap two, the 2016 champion showed the 2011 Bathurst 1000 winner he meant business, getting past by forcing the issue early on.
With the compulsory pit stop window open, Coulthard was the first to blink at the end of lap 4. To save time in the stop, and tyres for Sunday, the team elected to change the rubber on the left side of the car only.
Mostert and Whincup came in next, taking on four and two tyres respectively. Pitting from the lead, McLaughlin took two fresh tyres on the working side of the car. Van Gisbergen was the last to pit, taking rears only though the wheel nut didn’t want to go on, costing him time.
Garth Tander was able to get himself in the mix, taking on rear tyres in his stop but crucially coming out between Percat and Van Gisbergen. Percat was struggling though a fumbled moved from Tander pushed the GRM driver behind Van Gisbergen and Mark Winterbottom.
Mostert retired on lap 15 with a suspected broken tailshaft, a cruel blow to a day where he was on track to score good points for a championship assault. This left McLaughlin with a decent lead over Whincup and Coulthard.
David Reynolds proved his worth by coming out of the pits in effectively sixth place, forcing his way in to the pack. A strong battle between Rick Kelly, Tander and Winterbottom was interrupted by Tim Slade fumbling his pit exit, locking up on the run to turn one and taking out Kelly. He received a drive through penalty for his troubles.
James Courtney recovered well from a poor qualifying effort, running a long opening stint to have good speed at the end. He passed Todd Kelly and Lee Holdsworth in quick succession. He was able to range up on a struggling Percat, the pair swapping positions with only a handful of laps to go.
A battle for the last place championship fired up with Dale Wood, Cam Waters and Jason Bright trading paint. Courtney and Percat banged panels with three laps to go, the Walkinshaw driver being too cheeky and relegating his spot. The train of cars behind Percat was up to ten cars at one point with not a straight panel in there.
At the front though, nothing could challenge McLaughlin who took his third win in a row ahead of Whincup and Coulthard. In the final lap, Percat and Courtney made contact, the latter becoming bogged in the gravel trap.
Reynolds was a star of the race, finishing fourth after a poor race start with Will Davison fifth under similar circumstances. The results mean it’s now a DJRTP one-two at the top of the table while Whincup still lies third without a win.
|2017 Australian Supercars Winton SuperSprint – Race 9 Top-10 Finishers (40 laps)|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power DJR Team Penske||54:58.058|
|2.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||+ 1.624|
|3.||Fabian Coulthard||Shell V-Power DJR Team Penske||+ 2.424|
|4.||David Reynolds||Erebus Penrite Racing||+ 10.379|
|5.||Will Davison||TEKNO Woodstock Racing||+ 17.254|
|6.||Craig Lowndes||TeamVortex||+ 18.977|
|7.||Shane van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||+ 20.423|
|8.||Garth Tander||Wilson Security Racing GRM||+ 20.751|
|9.||Mark Winterbottom||The Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 23.123|
|10.||Nick Percat||Clipsal Brad Jones Racing||+ 42.373|
Image via Supercars
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