Anton De Pasquale claimed the first Supercars Championship win of his career in the opening race of the Darwin Triple Crown round.

The Erebus Motorsport driver qualified sixth-fastest, but was one of just a handful of drivers to start the 38-lap race on the Soft compound Dunlop tyre.

Championship leader Scott McLaughlin found himself jumped off the line by DJR Team Penske teammate Fabian Coulthard, but the pair was quickly overhauled by the Team 18 Holden of Mark Winterbottom, who was another to opt for the grippier soft rubber at the start.

The Safety Car was called into action after just eight laps when Jake Kostecki was turfed hard into the wall thanks to a wildly unsafe return to the circuit by Rick Kelly, who had locked wheels with Jack Le Brocq and briefly run off the circuit.

The Safety Car triggered a flurry of pit lane activity as everyone sought to make their compulsory tyre change. Winterbottom switched to hard rubber for the run to the chequered flag, while De Pasquale stayed on softs and survived contact with Jamie Whincup as he exited the pits after the Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver was unsafely released from his pit bay.

Despite that, De Pasquale had an untroubled run to the chequered flag, crossing the line less than a second clear of James Courtney’s Tickford Racing Ford which had also gone for a soft/soft strategy.

Whincup finished third on the road, but a 15-second time penalty for his unsafe pit release dumped him down the order and promoted Scott Pye (Team 18 Holden) to the final podium position.

Title rival McLaughlin was classified even further behind in 20th, having also earned a time penalty for prematurely overtaking Courtney at the first restart.

It was a poor race for the Red Bull Holden Racing squad, with Whincup’s teammate Shane van Gisbergen handed a drive-through penalty for tagging Nick Percat into a spin which triggered a race-ending collision with Brad Jones Racing teammate Todd Hazelwood.  In a disastrous race for the BJR squad, Macauley Jones later crashed his Holden midway through the race.

Early race leader Winterbottom finished fourth behind teammate Pye, while Chris Pither brought Team Sydney its best finish of the season with s soft/soft strategy to bag fifth place.

McLaughlin’s teammate Fabian Coulthard finished sixth, with Chaz Mostert (WAU Holden), Cameron Waters (Tickford Racing Ford), Andre Heimgartner (Kelly Racing Ford) and Lee Holdsworth (Tickford Racing Ford) completing the top ten.

2020 Australian Supercars Championship Darwin Triple Crown – Race 13 Final Classification (34 laps)
Pos Driver Team Result
1. Anton de Pasquale Penrite Racing 46:05.774
2. James Courtney Boost Mobile Racing + 0.835
3. Scott Pye DEWALT Racing + 6.128
4. Mark Winterbottom IRWIN Racing + 11.195
5. Chris Pither Team SYDNEY + 11.447
6. Fabian Coulthard Shell V-Power Racing Team + 11.740
7. Chaz Mostert Walkinshaw Andretti United Mobil 1 TM Appliances + 12.457
8. Cameron Waters Monster Energy Racing + 13.036
9. Andre Heimgartner Kelly Racing NED Whisky Racing + 13.338
10. Lee Holdsworth Truck Assist Racing + 14.073
11. Shane van Gisbergen Red Bull Holden Racing Team + 14.955
12. Jack Smith SCT Motor Sports + 15.233
13. David Reynolds Penrite Racing + 16.537
14. Jack Le Brocq Supercheap Auto Racing + 17.067
15. Rick Kelly Kelly Racing Castrol Racing + 17.935
16. Alex Davison Local Legends Racing + 18.360
17. Jamie Whincup Red Bull Holden Racing Team + 20.699
18. Todd Hazelwood Brut Military Grade + 22.466
19. Garry Jacobson Yellow Cover Racing + 22.738
20. Scott McLaughlin Shell V-Power Racing Team + 27.071
21. Bryce Fullwood Walkinshaw Andretti United Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing + 32.762
Retirements Team Reason
DNF. Macauley Jones Team CoolDrive Accident
DNF. Jake Kostecki UNIT Racing Collision
DNF. Nick Percat R&J Batteries Collision

Post-Race Penalties:

  • Jamie Whincup was issued a 15-second time penalty for an unsafe pit release.
  • Scott McLaughlin was issued a 15-second time penalty for a restart infringement (overtaking before crossing the control line).

Image via Penrite Racing

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Geoff Burke

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