Scott McLaughlin has cruised to a comfortable win in the fourth race of the Supercars Championship double-header at Townsville, with victory all but assured thanks to the retirement of Shane van Gisbergen.
The duo had locked out the front row in qualifying and ran 1-2 in the race, with McLaughlin the first to make his compulsory pit stop.
Van Gisbergen stayed out, but just before he was due to head to the pits the New Zealander suffered a power steering fluid leak which almost sent his Red Bull Holden into the wall. His team sent him back out, armed with their famous ‘bus driver’ steering wheel to make the car easier to turn, but the stewards quickly issued him a mechanical black flag and he was forced to retire.
Van Gisbergen’s retirement continued a miserable run of form for the 2016 series champion – incredibly yet to visit the top step of the podium this season – who now slumps to fifth in the Drivers’ Championship standings, 499 points behind McLaughlin who was able to cruise to his tenth win of the season.
McLaughlin’s fifth win from the last seven races was seemingly never in doubt after van Gisbergen’s retirement, although Cameron Waters tried to make a race of it after his pit stop.
The Tickford Racing driver had run third in the opening stanza of the race but lost out to van Gisbergen’s Jamie Whincup in the pit stops thanks to their contrasting tyre strategies. Armed with three fresh tyres to Whincup’s two, he quickly rounded up and overtook the Red Bull Holden driver for an effective second place once van Gisbergen retired.
He was able to match McLaughlin for overall lap speed but wasn’t able to haul the DJR Team Penske driver in.
Completing the podium was WAU Holden’s Chaz Mostert – picking up his third top-three finish at Townsville this year – who also managed to overtake Whincup in the final laps. Whincup, who finished fourth, now trails McLaughlin by 143 points in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
Anton de Pasquale (Erebus Motorsport Holden) fended off Nick Percat (Brad Jones Racing Holden) for fifth, while Fabian Coulthard (DJR Team Penske), Jack Le Brocq (Tickford Racing Ford), Scott Pye (Team 18 Holden) and James Courtney (Tickford) completed the top ten.
Van Gisbergen was curiously one of three drivers to suffer steering dramas during the race. David Reynolds was forced to park his Erebus Holden when it had a power steering failure just before half-distance, while Jack Smith had a lengthy stint in the pits after his BJR Holden had a steering rack failure and smacked the wall.
The second leg of the Townsville SuperSprint concludes on Sunday, with two further 39-lap races at 12:05 and 14:40 local time (GMT +10).
|2020 Australian Supercars Championship Townsville SuperSprint II – Race 22 Final Classification (39 laps)|
|1.||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power Racing Team||49:20.983|
|2.||Cameron Waters||Monster Energy Racing||+ 3.489|
|3.||Chaz Mostert||Mobil 1 TM Appliances||+ 10.815|
|4.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||+ 16.007|
|5.||Anton de Pasquale||Penrite Racing||+ 17.988|
|6.||Nick Percat||R&J Batteries||+ 27.369|
|7.||Fabian Coulthard||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 29.585|
|8.||Jack Le Brocq||Supercheap Auto Racing||+ 30.266|
|9.||Scott Pye||DEWALT Racing||+ 32.538|
|10.||James Courtney||Boost Mobile Racing||+ 34.984|
|11.||Rick Kelly||Castrol Racing||+ 39.589|
|12.||Todd Hazelwood||Team Black Duck||+ 42.910|
|13.||Alex Davison||Local Legends Racing||+ 43.866|
|14.||Mark Winterbottom||IRWIN Racing||+ 45.084|
|15.||Garry Jacobson||Yellow Cover Racing||+ 45.467|
|16.||Lee Holdsworth||Truck Assist Racing||+ 45.762|
|17.||Bryce Fullwood||Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing||+ 57.276|
|18.||Andre Heimgartner||NED Whisky Racing||+ 59.150|
|19.||Macauley Jones||Team CoolDrive||+ 1:01.725|
|20.||Jake Kostecki||UNIT Racing||+ 1:02.510|
|21.||Chris Pither||Team SYDNEY||+ 1:06.334|
|22.||Jack Smith||SCT Motor Sports||8 laps behind|
|DNF.||Shane van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Steering|
|DNF.||David Reynolds||Penrite Racing||Steering|
Image via Motorsport.com
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