Scott McLaughlin has made history becoming the first ever winner of the Darwin ‘Triple Crown’ by clean sweeping the entire event.
After winning Saturday’s opening 120-kilometre race from pole, the defending Virgin Australia Supercars Champion claimed pole position and then won Sunday’s feature 200-kilometre leg in dominant style. It is the DJR Team Penske driver’s twelfth win from the 2019 season’s 16 races to date, and with the championship now at its halfway mark it would appear that only a total disaster could stop him from defending his title.
With he and teammate Fabian Coulthard locking out the front row, the duo ran neck-and-neck off the line on the sprint to Turn 1. McLaughlin held the inside line to take the lead and with Coulthard trying to challenge around the outside, that allowed David Reynolds to capitalise and snatch second place.
McLaughlin’s lead and path to victory was seemingly never in doubt from that point, despite a brief lunge by Reynolds at Turn 5. From there on, he simply cleared off and built a 7.6-second gap over the Erebus driver by the time the pair made the first of their two compulsory pit stops.
Reynolds took on more fuel during his first stop, which dropped him to an effective sixth place at the start of his middle stint, while McLaughlin held a comfortable race lead once the field cycled through pit lane.
Despite his shorter fuel fill, McLaughlin stayed out six laps longer than Reynolds when he made his second pit stop. Eventually pitting at the end of Lap 44, he narrowly avoided contact with wildcard driver Jack Smith as he exited his pit bay.
With the second and final pit stops completed it was plain sailing for McLaughlin, who crossed the finish line over 13 seconds clear of Reynolds. Coulthard finished third ahead of Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters to complete the podium, but now sits a mammoth 319 points behind his teammate as they continue to occupy a 1-2 position in the championship standings.
Jamie Whincup put in a fighting drive to finish fifth after falling as low as 23rd on the opening lap thanks to a bump from James Courtney on the opening lap. Out of position, the Red Bull Holden Racing driver pitted early on Lap 14 to take advantage of a clear track, using the undercut to great effect to climb through the field.
With his early pit stop helping him to a podium finish in Saturday’s race, Chaz Mostert opted for different pit stop tactics in Sunday’s leg. The Tickford driver ran long opening and middle tyre stints, pitting for the second time on Lap 57 and using his fresher tyres to carve his way up to sixth place ahead of teammate Lee Holdsworth.
Reynolds’ teammate Anton de Pasquale finished eighth to cap off a solid weekend for the Erebus team, ahead of Will Davison – who ensured all Ford Mustang runners finished in the top-ten – and an off-the-pace Shane van Gisbergen.
|2019 Australian Supercars Championship BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown – Race 16 Final Classification (70 laps)|
|1.||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power Racing Team||1:21:00.413|
|2.||David Reynolds||Penrite Racing||+ 13.832|
|3.||Fabian Coulthard||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 14.876|
|4.||Cameron Waters||Monster Energy Racing||+ 21.162|
|5.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing||+ 21.911|
|6.||Chaz Mostert||Supercheap Auto Racing||+ 22.324|
|7.||Lee Holdsworth||The Bottle-O Racing||+ 22.911|
|8.||Anton de Pasquale||Penrite Racing||+ 27.639|
|9.||Will Davison||Milwaukee Racing||+ 29.360|
|10.||Shane van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing||+ 31.987|
|11.||Andre Heimgartner||Plus Fitness Racing||+ 35.735|
|12.||Mark Winterbottom||Irwin Racing||+ 36.405|
|13.||Todd Hazelwood||Bigmate Racing||+ 46.892|
|14.||James Courtney||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||+ 46.924|
|15.||Nick Percat||Dunlop Racing||+ 55.337|
|16.||Rick Kelly||Castrol Racing||+ 57.235|
|17.||James Golding||Boost Mobile Racing||1 lap behind|
|18.||Tim Slade||Freightliner Racing||1 lap behind|
|19.||Scott Pye||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||1 lap behind|
|20.||Simona de Silvestro||Team Harvey Norman||1 lap behind|
|21.||Jack Le Brocq||Truck Assist TEKNO||1 lap behind|
|22.||Macauley Jones||Team CoolDrive||1 lap behind|
|23.||Chris Pither||Boost Mobile Racing||1 lap behind|
|24.||Garry Jacobson||RABBLE.club Racing||1 lap behind|
|25.||Jack Smith (WC)||SCT Logistics Racing||1 lap behind|
Image via DJR Team Penske
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