Another race and another victory for Scott McLaughlin. The Supercars Championship points leader chalked up a record equalling sixteenth win of the 2019 season – tying him with Craig Lowndes’ milestone – with victory in Sunday’s OTR SuperSprint race at The Bend Motorsport Park.
Having claimed pole position for the fourteenth time this season, the DJR Team Penske driver was out-dragged off the start line by fellow Ford Mustang runner Will Davison (23Red Racing) and Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Holden Racing Team).
Whincup quickly sought to try and snatch the lead from Davison on the opening two laps, however a half-hearted lunge at Turn 3 on the second lap saw him drift wide and that allowed McLaughlin to profit and slip into second place.
The New Zealander quickly closed in on Davison but was unable to find a way by. With Whincup and Chaz Mostert (Tickford Racing Ford) closing up behind him, McLaughlin opted to make the first of his two compulsory pit stops a the end of Lap 9.
Davison pitted on the next lap to attempt to cover a potential undercut by the DJR Team Penske strategy, successfully re-joining the circuit ahead of the #17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford to keep the effective race lead.
Simultaneously, Mostert managed to overtake Whincup for the lead with a neat move into Turn 14, only to lose the place as the pair cycled through the pit lane for their first stops.
Mostert returned to attack mode once his tyres were back up to temperature, clinically passing Whincup at Turn 1 on Lap 15 to move into an effective third place.
With tyre wear proving all but non-existent on the ultra-smooth track surface, McLaughlin was soon back into the pits for his second and final stop at the end of Lap 17.
Davison was called into the pits on the next lap, but he suffered a bizarre airbox fire as he entered the pit lane. His Mustang twice lost all power as it spluttered down the pit lane, with the delay proving costly enough that McLaughlin was able to jump into what was effectively the race lead.
It was game over at that point, with McLaughlin able to cruise to victory while stablemates Davison and Mostert battled for the remaining podium positions.
Mostert piled on the pressure after his second pit stop, but Davison’s defenses held firm to give him his second podium finish of the season.
Whincup looked on course to hold onto fourth place and claim the mantle of the best Holden runner, but he ran wide at Turn 10 with six laps to go and that allowed Nick Percat (Brad Joned Racing) to nip through for his best finish of the season.
Whincup’s teammate Shane van Gisbergen finished sixth with a fine drive after a disastrous qualifying run left him sixteenth on the grid. Saturday podium finisher Anton De Pasquale (Erebus Motorsport) finished seventh, with the Tickford Racing duo of Cameron Waters and Lee Holdsworth eighth and ninth respectively.
McLaughlin’s teammate Fabian Coulthard finished tenth after a another indifferent weekend, meaning he loses his long-time hold on second place in the Drivers’ Championship standings to Mostert, who sits a whopping 573 points behind McLaughlin.
|2019 Australian Supercars Championship OTR The Bend SuperSprint – Race 22 Final Classification (41 laps)|
|1.||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power Racing Team||1:17:17.859|
|2.||Will Davison||Milwaukee Racing||+ 2.469|
|3.||Chaz Mostert||Supercheap Auto Racing||+ 3.628|
|4.||Nick Percat||X Convenience Mobil Racing||+ 14.460|
|5.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing||+ 16.326|
|6.||Shane van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing||+ 20.476|
|7.||Anton de Pasquale||Penrite Racing||+ 26.912|
|8.||Cameron Waters||Monster Energy Racing||+ 28.784|
|9.||Lee Holdsworth||The Bottle-O Racing||+ 29.196|
|10.||Fabian Coulthard||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 31.837|
|11.||Rick Kelly||Castrol Racing||+ 33.552|
|12.||Tim Slade||Freightliner Racing||+ 38.215|
|13.||David Reynolds||Penrite Racing||+ 44.300|
|14.||Todd Hazelwood||Unit Racing||+ 46.227|
|15.||James Courtney||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||+ 49.915|
|16.||Scott Pye||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||+ 52.022|
|17.||Thomas Randle||Scandia Racing||+ 52.283|
|18.||James Golding||Boost Mobile Racing||+ 54.917|
|19.||Garry Jacobson||RABBLE.club Racing||+ 59.031|
|20.||Andre Heimgartner||Plus Fitness Racing||+ 1:02.384|
|21.||Macauley Jones||Team CoolDrive||+ 1:04.169|
|22.||Simona de Silvestro||Team Harvey Norman||+ 1:12.095|
|23.||Mark Winterbottom||Irwin Racing||+ 1:15.103|
|24.||Richie Stanaway||Boost Mobile Racing||+ 1:18.616|
|25.||Jack Le Brocq||Truck Assist TEKNO||+ 1:19.180|
|26.||Jack Smith||Freightliner Racing||+ 1:47.027|
Image via DJR Team Penske
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