Scott McLaughlin has cruised to a comfortable win as the second leg of the Supercars Championship’s double-header in Darwin got underway.
The DJR Team Penske driver had been pipped to pole position by Jamie Whincup in qualifying by just 0.06 seconds, but took advantage of starting on the grippier side of the track to get a better launch than the Red Bull Holden Racing driver to lead the field into Turn 1.
The defending two-time champion quickly built a lead of over a second in the early laps, which gave him enough of a buffer to fend off the threat of being jumped by Whincup through the mandatory pit stops.
McLaughlin pitted at the end of Lap 7 with Whincup following suit a lap later; their relative positions remained unchanged through to the chequered flag. The gap between this year’s main title protagonists was 2.4 seconds at the end of the 38-lap race.
“The start was really pivotal,” McLaughlin said after the race. “I was able to do my own race from then on.
“The boys’ pitstop was unbelievable, I’m proud of them, they’ve been working hard. It was a nice start to the weekend. We’ve got a few things we need to work on, but I’m pretty happy.”
Tickford Racing teammates Cameron Waters and James Courtney finished a distant third, with Waters managing to narrowly get the jump on his fellow Ford runner as he emerged from his pit stop.
While most drivers opted for an early pit stop and a long run to the finish, Nick Percat took a different approach by pitting at mid-distance which helped the Brad Jones Racing Holden driver to an eventual fifth place finish. Erebus Motorsport’s Anton de Pasquale ran an even longer 22-lap opening stint and finished in sixth place.
Whincup’s teammate Shane van Gisbergen needed to recover from a – by his standards – poor qualifying performance and ran until Lap 24 before pitting. He opted to take on four fresh tyres, using his superior grip later in the race to quickly pass the likes of Chaz Mostert and Fabian Coulthard before finishing in eighth place behind Lee Holdsworth’s Tickford Racing Ford.
The Darwin SuperSprint round has two further 38-lap races on Sunday.
|2020 Australian Supercars Championship Darwin Triple SuperSprint – Race 16 Final Classification (38 laps)|
|1.||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power Racing Team||43:58.632|
|2.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||+ 2.495|
|3.||Cameron Waters||Monster Energy Racing||+ 15.360|
|4.||James Courtney||Boost Mobile Racing||+ 16.265|
|5.||Nick Percat||R&J Batteries||+ 17.996|
|6.||Anton de Pasquale||Penrite Racing||+ 18.774|
|7.||Lee Holdsworth||Truck Assist Racing||+ 24.564|
|8.||Shane van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||+ 24.979|
|9.||Chaz Mostert||Mobil 1 TM Appliances||+ 25.833|
|10.||Fabian Coulthard||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 26.583|
|11.||Mark Winterbottom||IRWIN Racing||+ 28.225|
|12.||David Reynolds||Penrite Racing||+ 28.691|
|13.||Scott Pye||DEWALT Racing||+ 28.932|
|14.||Rick Kelly||Castrol Racing||+ 34.944|
|15.||Andre Heimgartner||NED Whisky Racing||+ 35.281|
|16.||Todd Hazelwood||Brut Military Grade||+ 40.014|
|17.||Macauley Jones||Team CoolDrive||+ 42.988|
|18.||Alex Davison||Local Legends Racing||+ 49.821|
|19.||Bryce Fullwood||Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing||+ 51.318|
|20.||Jack Smith||SCT Motor Sports||+ 51.437|
|21.||Zane Goddard||UNIT Racing||+ 1:02.436|
|22.||Garry Jacobson||Yellow Cover Racing||+ 1:06.844|
|DNF.||Chris Pither||Team SYDNEY||Mechanical|
|DNF.||Jack Le Brocq||Supercheap Auto Racing||Collision|
- Garry Jacobson was issued a 15-second time penalty for pit lane speeding.
Image via Motorsport.com
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