Scott McLaughlin’s title defence has started in perfect form after clean-sweeping the two races in this weekend’s Adelaide 500.
Having never won a race around the South Australian capital’s streets before this season, McLaughlin backed up his win on Saturday with a pole and race win in Sunday’s time-shortened race.
Leading from pole to the flag, McLaughlin headed a 1-2 result for the Ford Mustang with Cam Waters finishing second after some late race pressure from Shane van Gisbergen.
McLaughlin took his first pole position of the year in the Top-10 Shootout, hitting the track last and putting just over two-tenths of a second on van Gisbergen who also lined up on the front row. The surprise of the session was van Gisbergen’s performance, ending up second after provisionally qualifying tenth.
While yesterday’s pole-sitter Fabian Coulthard qualified third, he was excluded from qualifying after a parc fermé breach before his run. David Reynolds and Waters would start on the second row with Will Davison, local drivers Nick Percat and Todd Hazelwood (making his Shootout debut) and Anton de Pasquale behind.
Chaz Mostert was second-last on the road but a kerb strike at the Senna Chicane put him at the back of the Top-10 until Coulthard’s penalty. Jamie Whincup didn’t make the Shootout, only qualifying 12th ahead of the final race of the weekend.
A even jump off the line from McLaughlin and van Gisbergen saw the pair go side-by-side into the Senna Chicane, with polesitter McLaughlin ending up on top at the exit as Reynolds behind them applied pressure to van Gisbergen.
Reynolds was taken out of the fight at Turn 9 after he was escorted wide by Waters, dropping a few spots in the order as the Monster Mustang’s bungled pass let McLaughlin and van Gisbergen run away out front.
Mostert and Whincup were the big movers and shakers in the early laps, both moving up significantly from their qualifying positions as Hazelwood continued to punch above his weight, keeping the seven-time champion in Whincup at bay.
Waters stopped around the lap 20 mark as van Gisbergen came in on Lap 22, dropping behind the Tickford car but ahead of Davison. McLaughlin’s stop two laps later saw him retain the effective lead, emerging ahead of Waters.
The first Safety Car of the season was deployed on Lap 27 thanks to Jack Le Brocq’s Tekno Commodore stopping at Turn 11, causing chaos in the pit lane. While the leaders all pitted, a bungled stop for Mostert saw his Tickford crew release him into the path of Rick Kelly’s Nissan Altima.
The contact between the pair saw Mostert block the pit lane, forcing everyone to scatter through other pit bays to get around he and Kelly. He was later given a drive-through penalty after going a lap down as Kelly returned to the garage for repairs.
Racing resumed on Lap 30 with Nick Percat in the lead from David Reynolds, the pair having not stopped under the Safety Car as McLaughlin ran third on road in the effective race lead. The next man who had pitted under the Safety Car was Waters in sixth with van Gisbergen behind him in seventh.
Waters came in for his final stop on Lap 43, coming out in clear air while McLaughlin’s stop came two laps later, however a wheel nut issue delayed his departure and left him to fend off Waters on cold tyres.
In for his final stop on Lap 56, van Gisbergen came out on fresh tyres and with fuel to the end as it became certain that the race would not go the full 78 laps. He started to hunt down and chip away at McLaughlin and Waters in front as the clock ticked down.
The #97 ranged up to the rear bumper of the #6 in the final five minutes, wanting to pass the Tickford Mustang as fast as possible to hunt down the DJR Team Penske Mustang soon after. Having the aid of 12 lap younger tyres helped van Gisbergen mount a charge for the second spot on the podium but Waters held him off, making his car as wide as possible to stop the 2016 series champion getting past.
Waters held off van Gisbergen to the flag, taking his best result in Adelaide as McLaughlin won his second race in a row, completing a perfect weekend around the iconic street circuit.
South Australians Tim Slade and Nick Percat finished in the top five for Brad Jones Racing, the best result for Slade since his last race in South Australia at Tailem Bend last year. Mark Winterbottom held off Jamie Whincup for sixth place on debut for Team 18 while Will Davison, David Reynolds and Todd Hazelwood completed the top ten.
Next up, it’s Grand Prix time as the Supercars season continues to support the Formula One season opener in Melbourne for the second year in a row.
|2019 Australian Supercars Championship Superloop Adelaide 500 – Race 1 Final Classification (71 laps)|
|1.||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power Racing||1:39:52.591|
|2.||Cameron Waters||Monster Energy Racing||+ 2.385
|3.||Shane van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing||+ 2.940
|4.||Tim Slade||Freightliner Racing||+ 18.398
|5.||Nick Percat||Team National Pharmacies||+ 18.955
|6.||Mark Winterbottom||Irwin Racing||+ 24.939
|7.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing||+ 25.420
|8.||Will Davison||Milwaukee Racing||+ 25.570
|9.||David Reynolds||Penrite Racing||+ 31.502
|10.||Todd Hazelwood||Unit Racing||+ 32.048
|11.||Lee Holdsworth||The Bottle-O Racing||+ 32.475
|12.||James Courtney||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||+ 37.297
|13.||Andre Heimgartner||Plus Fitness Racing||+ 39.589
|14.||Anton de Pasquale||Penrite Racing||+ 41.216
|15.||Chaz Mostert||Supercheap Auto Racing||+ 46.431
|16.||Simona de Silvestro||Team Harvey Norman||+ 47.315
|17.||Scott Pye||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||+ 51.088
|18.||Richie Stanaway||Boost Mobile Racing||+ 52.056
|19.||James Golding||Boost Mobile Racing||+ 58.571
|20.||Fabian Coulthard||Shell V-Power Racing||+ 1:02.864
|21.||Jack Le Brocq||Team TEKNO||3 laps behind|
|22.||Garry Jacobson||RABBLE.club Racing||4 laps behind|
|23.||Macauley Jones||Team CoolDrive||14 laps behind
|24.||Rick Kelly||Castrol Racing||16 laps behind
Image via Supercars