Defending Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin has extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings with victory in this weekend’s third and final race at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The DJR Team Penske driver was able to fend off a threat from the Tickford Racing Ford of Lee Holdsworth, with the Ford drivers separated by just 1.5 seconds at the flag.
McLaughlin converted his pole position into an early lead, easing away from Jamie Whincup’s Red Bull Holden in the opening laps to pull out a five-second margin before the latter made his compulsory pit stop on Lap 13.
While Whincup opted to change just two tyres, McLaughlin pitted a lap later and opted to change all four tyres for the run home. The faster pit stop by the Red Bull crew allowed Whincup to cut McLaughlin’s theoretical race lead down to just one second, but the DJR Team Penske driver was always going to benefit from superior tyre grip and quickly pulled away.
Holdsworth, meanwhile, ran an alternate strategy and pitted much later in the race. Having saved fresh tyres for the final race, he was able to carve his way up the order after making his pit stop. He ran out of laps to get a chance at challenging McLaughlin.
Whincup faded to finish a distant third, but had more than ten seconds to fourth-placed David Reynolds.
The Erebus Holden driver led a gaggle of cars across the finish line, narrowly holding off Mark Winterbottom’s CS Racing Holden and Whincup’s teammate Shane van Gisbergen, who struggled for pace. Reynolds’ teammate Anton De Pasquale the Brad Jones Racing Holdens of Todd Hazelwood Nick Percat were also in hot pursuit, while the WAU Holden of rookie Bryce Fullwood rounded out the top ten.
It was a bad day for McLaughlin’s teammate Fabian Coulthard, who ran unconvincingly in the midfield before his Ford ground to a halt on the final lap of the race.
McLaughlin heads into the next round of the season, the Winton SuperSprint on 18-19 July, with a 49-point lead to Whincup.
|2020 Australian Supercars Championship Sydney SuperSprint – Race 9 Final Classification (32 laps)|
|1.||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power Racing Team||50:20.268|
|2.||Lee Holdsworth||Truck Assist Racing||+ 1.519|
|3.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||+ 11.250|
|4.||David Reynolds||Penrite Racing||+ 24.428|
|5.||Mark Winterbottom||IRWIN Racing||+ 25.647|
|6.||Shane van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||+ 26.517|
|7.||Anton de Pasquale||Penrite Racing||+ 26.949|
|8.||Todd Hazelwood||Brut Military Grade||+ 27.128|
|9.||Nick Percat||Dunlop Super Dealer Racing||+ 27.997|
|10.||Bryce Fullwood||Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing||+ 28.748|
|11.||Jack Le Brocq||Supercheap Auto Racing||+ 31.858|
|12.||Scott Pye||DEWALT Racing||+ 35.647|
|13.||Cameron Waters||Monster Energy Racing||+ 36.859|
|14.||James Courtney||Boost Mobile Racing||+ 37.461|
|15.||Andre Heimgartner||NED Whisky Racing||+ 40.662|
|16.||Chaz Mostert||Mobil 1 TM Appliances||+ 43.754|
|17.||Rick Kelly||Castrol Racing||+ 46.657|
|18.||Jack Smith||SCT Motor Sports||+ 47.015|
|19.||Garry Jacobson||Yellow Cover Racing||+ 48.062|
|20.||Macauley Jones||Team CoolDrive||+ 49.399|
|21.||Alex Davison||Local Legends Racing||+ 49.829|
|22.||Jake Kostecki||UNIT Racing||+ 50.596|
|23.||Chris Pither||Team SYDNEY||+ 1:17.382|
|DNF.||Fabian Coulthard||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Mechanical|
- To be advised
Image via DJR Team Penske
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