Jamie Whincup has claimed redemption for the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, winning the season finale at the Newcastle 500.
Emancipating himself after his poor result on Saturday – where he threw away a second place finish behind teammate Shane van Gisbergen after sliding up an escape road – Whincup collected 150 Teams’ Championship points for the Triple Eight Race Engineering stable but it wasn’t enough to prevent rivals DJR Team Penske taking the teams’ title.
The official celebrations kicked off for Scott McLaughlin, who missed out on a podium but finished the 2019 season 562 points ahead of the field to lock up his second consecutive Drivers’ Championship title.
The 26-year-old Kiwi racing star congratulated his teammate Fabian Coulthard on reaching the podium for the second time this weekend, with his compatriot ending his turbulent season on a high.
The Red Bull Holden Racing Team had a mixed result with van Gisbergen finishing seventh after a poor qualifying performance was coupled with a grid penalty for impeding Will Davison.
Whincup got the jump on Cameron Waters (Tickford Racing) off the line to lead into the first corner, with the Monster Energy Mustang making light contact with the pole-sitting Red Bull. The twin DJR Team Penske Shell V-Power Fords were side-by-side into Turn 1 behind Waters before McLaughlin had to yield to his teammate to avoid contact.
Lee Holdsworth (Tickford Racing) was a victim of an early error by David Reynolds (Erebus Motorsport) at Turn 1, with the latter making contact with the wall causing damage to his front right tyre before Holdsworth ran into the rear of the Penrite Commodore. Significant damage to the bonnet and brake duct of the Bottle-O Mustang sent Holdsworth limping back to pit lane for a quick patch up but he was able to continue.
Waters headed in for tyres and fuel on Lap 5 in an effort to benefit from a clean air undercut and hoping to claim his first race win for the year. McLaughlin had a similar strategy, coming in on Lap 16, popping out behind Waters.
The first and only Safety Car of the race was triggered when an exchange between James Courtney (Walkinshaw Andretti United) and Anton de Pasquale between Turn 5 and 6 fired the Erebus Motorsport driver into the wall on Lap 24. The #99 Commodore was unable to shuffle back to pit lane, ending a frustrating weekend for the 24-year-old driver.
The drama was not over for Courtney’s last race with WAU, when an unsafe release of his Commodore in pit lane caused contact with Tickford Racing’s Chaz Mostert, resulting in a drive through penalty for Courtney.
The race restarted on Lap 30 with Waters leading, under increasing pressure from McLaughlin. Concerns were growing from the Tickford garage as Waters’ older tyres needed to hold off the #17 as they scrapped through to the critical lap for their final refuel.
Lap 50 saw Waters come in for his second stop, needing 27 seconds of fuel compared to 15 seconds for the majority of the field, evidence of their undercut strategy backfiring due to the untimely Safety Car.
Whincup and Coulthard were the next to blink and headed to the pits for their remaining fuel. The Red Bull Holden Racing Team benefited from their pit lane position, releasing Whincup ahead of Coulthard which is how it would remain to the flag.
Tim Slade (Brad Jones Racing) split the DJR Team Penske Mustangs and managed his tyres well to hold McLaughlin off the podium. Champion-elect McLaughlin was under pressure from Scott Pye (Walkinshaw Andretti United) who continued to display the pace that he had on Saturday, retaining fifth position for his final race for WAU.
Van Gisbergen had a late charge on fresh tyres, passing Cameron Waters, Todd Hazelwood and Nick Percat to take seventh.
Andre Heimgartner was the top Kelly Racing runner as a disappointing fuel miscalculation for Rick Kelly (Kelly Racing) meant he needed to return to pit lane on for 1 millilitre of fuel, sending his Nissan Altima to the back of the pack in its last laps before retirement.
Richie Stanaway brought Garry Rogers Motorsport home in 15th for their last race in the category, while teammate James Golding met the tyre wall on Lap 70 but was able to wriggle out to finish 20th.
The off-season will see 12 of the drivers change teams ahead of the 2020 season which kicks off at the Superloop Adelaide 500 on February 20, 2020.
|2019 Australian Supercars Championship Coates Hire Newcastle 500 – Race 32 Final Classification (93 laps)|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing||1:57:09.241|
|2.||Fabian Coulthard||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 2.124|
|3.||Tim Slade||Freightliner Racing||+ 3.802|
|4.||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 5.296|
|5.||Scott Pye||Mobil 1 Racing||+ 6.253|
|6.||Chaz Mostert||Supercheap Auto Racing||+ 11.670|
|7.||Shane van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing||+ 18.640|
|8.||Cameron Waters||Monster Energy Racing Team||+ 19.322|
|9.||Nick Percat||Timken Racing||+ 19.715|
|10.||Todd Hazelwood||Bigmate Racing||+ 23.730|
|11.||James Courtney||Mobil 1 Racing||+ 24.605|
|12.||Andre Heimgartner||Plus Fitness Racing||+ 31.782|
|13.||Will Davison||Milwaukee Racing||+ 35.977|
|14.||Mark Winterbottom||Irwin Racing||+ 38.791|
|15.||Richie Stanaway||Boost Mobile Racing||+ 40.813|
|16.||David Reynolds||Penrite Racing||+ 42.970|
|17.||Jack Le Brocq||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||+ 50.639|
|18.||Simona de Silvestro||Team Harvey Norman||+ 1:04.210|
|19.||Rick Kelly||Castrol Racing||+ 1:09.660|
|20.||James Golding||Boost Mobile Racing||1 lap behind|
|21.||Macauley Jones||Team CoolDrive||1 lap behind|
|22.||Garry Jacobson||RABBLE.club Racing||1 lap behind|
|23.||Lee Holdsworth||The Bottle-O Racing||10 laps behind|
|DNF.||Anton de Pasquale||Penrite Racing||Accident|
- To be advised
Image via Red Bull Holden Racing Team
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