Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds was able to take his first victory since Bathurst last year by winning the last race of this year’s Melbourne 400 round.
The loveable larrikin made the best of a good start to lead the entire race despite coming under fire, taking his first non-endurance race win with Erebus as well as his best finish at the Albert Park circuit.
The final race of the weekend in Melbourne saw Jamie Whincup start from pole with Reynolds starting alongside him. Nick Percat and Chaz Mostert lined up on the second row with Saturday night winner Scott Pye starting from fifth.
The shock of qualifying was Scott McLaughlin and Shane Van Gisbergen, two qualifying specialists, starting from ninth and 26th respectively, making them work for strong points finishes.
Reynolds got a blinding start off the line, getting himself past Whincup in to turn one and leaving the defending champion vulnerable to an attack from Percat who moved up to second on the run to turn three.
James Courtney’s great opening lap where he had been slicing through the field was all undone on lap two, the #25 driver being spun at turn three thanks to a bump from James Golding, ending up facing the wrong way and in last place.
Percat continued to hound the back of Reynolds’ Erebus Commodore, not getting close enough to make a move on last year’s Bathurst champion but still staying in touch while Whincup followed the pair.
McLaughlin was finally allowed past his team-mate Coulthard after failing to make a move despite having better pace, the team telling Coulthard to move out of the way.
The first genuine safety car of the Supercars round came on lap seven when the engine of James Golding’s GRM Commodore expired, the rookie having to pull over at the exit of turn two and escape the smoke.
Winterbottom, Waters and Blanchard pitted from the mid-pack for fresh tyres, wanting to make hay while the sun shone in the dying laps due to the high tyre degradation.
Racing resumed with one lap left, Reynolds leading the field to the line as Percat continued to chase him. Pye seemed to hold up McLaughlin and those behind him though he retained his position.
Reynolds came through to win his first sprint race with Erebus with Percat putting in his best result with BJR by taking second. Whincup’s third ensured he won the inaugural Larry Perkins trophy while Mostert and Pye completed the top five.
Coulthard was able to get back past McLaughlin who led Caruso, Tander and Davison to round out the top ten. Van Gisbergen fought his way to 13th after starting in 26th place and de Pasquale was the best of the rookies in 15th.
Image via Keith McInnes