AUSTRALIAN
Sunday, May 6 07:44pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

19th to 1st: Scott McLaughlin masters Barbagallo

Scott McLaughlin has dominated proceedings to take back-to-back wins in the Perth SuperSprint, his fifth of the season and fourth in a row.

 

Shell V-Power Racing aced the strategy with a fast start from 19th and an early pit stop that gave him track advantage. 

 

"I’m stoked," McLaughlin said. 

 

"I couldn’t believe it, these guys just gave me an unbelievable car and the strategy was on point.

 

"I got a decent start for the first time in my life. I’m puffing I was jumping up and down, it was awesome. I'm so stoked for everyone at Shell V-Power Racing and at home, we made it difficult for ourselves, stuff it, brought it back.

 

"As Daniel Ricciardo says, ‘holy testicle Tuesday!'"

 

The race start was punctuated with a franetic first few laps. Row one was locked out by Red Bull Holden Racing Team drivers Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup. With rain in the air there were questions over the race strategy.

 

A poor start by van gisbergen after he lit up his rear wheels dropped him down to third. Side-by-side with van Gisbergem, Heimgartner got hung out to dry and then got loose following a hit from behind by teammate Rick Kelly.

 

Heimgartner went right and got onto the grass, a big puff of dirt blew up into the air and David Reynolds got the better of the Nissan Motorsport driver.

 

There was drama at the back as Richie Stanaway made contact with Scott Pye and sent him into a spin. Stanaway, however, was being pushed from behind in all the chaos.

 

There was action aplenty across the first few laps. McLaughlin and fellow Kiwi Stanaway rubbed shoulders on the run down to turn one come lap two. McLaughlin got a bit loose and was fortunate to get away without many more dramas.

 

By lap three he was up to 13th and challenging Blanchard on the grass down the front straight.

 

The frantic first few laps continued and climaxed on lap four when Garry Rogers Motorsport pilot James Golding came to blows with Todd Hazlewood. Golding speared off into the deep gravel trap and the safety car was duly brought out.

 

The safety car was called out and almost all of the field headed to the pit lane. With Whincup in the lead, van Gisbergen had to double-stack.

 

Meanwhile, Will Davison stayed out and took the lead of the race.

 

The pit stops sequence played out and put McLaughlin seventh on the road after a fantastic start from 19th while van Gisbergen dropped down the order following a double-stack with his teammate.  

 

The race restarted on lap eight with Davison out in front in what was his 400th Supercars Championship start.

 

Will Davison dropped to second after Mostert got a move done on fresh tyres. Reynolds got the better of Davison a lap later and Heimgartner followed suit soon after.

 

The race settled back into a rhythm after all the race start mayhem.  

 

Anton De Pasquale went surfing through the turn six gravel trap on lap 18 and returned to the circuit down the order.

 

Lap 19 saw van Gisbergen enter the pit lane for his second stop, which put him out of sequence with teammate Whincup and put him in fresh air.

 

De Pesquale went for another surf through the gravel on lap 25 at the turn six basin and recovered.

 

That same lap Heimgartner came under pressure from Whincup. The Red Bull driver forced his way down the inside down the long straight but managed to get the crisscross done on the front straight—Whincup pitted a lap later.

 

While they battled, Reynolds also pushed to get past Mostert. Come lap 28 Mostert, Heimgartner and McLaughlin both came into the pit lane.

 

With less fuel on board McLaughlin and Heimgartner both came out ahead of Mostert. On the rejoin Mostert managed to get ahead of Tim Slade.

 

Fabian Coulthard went for a drive through the sand trap at turn one and put a mark on his tyres. He duly came into the pits shortly after.

 

Reynolds came out ahead of Mostert on lap 33.

 

Once the pit stop sequence cycled through McLaughlin led Heimgartner and van Gisbergen in third.  

 

There was a willing battle for third come lap 38. Kelly and van Gisbergen went wide at the final corner and that allowed Reynolds the opportunity to get past Whincup.

 

The Red Bull driver tried to get past Kelly, but they compromised each other and that allowed Reynolds to round up both Whincup and Kelly. A few moments later, Reynolds got a move done on van Gisbergen at turn six.

 

With strategies varying up and down the grid the likes of Whincup and Mostert began to fade.

 

Come lap 54, Mostert was the first to blink and make the final pit stop. Whincup followed suit a lap later. Heimgartner and Courtney both headed for the lane on lap 58. Courtney managed to get out just ahead of Whincup and Heimgartner slotted in behind.

 

There was nearly a colossal collision when Tim Slade speared off the road at turn four. He was lucky not to collide with van Gisbergen on the rejoin and managed to gather his car up.

 

Once the final pit stop sequence was complete McLaughlin led Reynolds, Courtney, Heimgartner and Lowndes down in fifth.

 

Reynolds looked like he might be able to catch McLaughlin with 10 laps to go, but the Erebus Motorsport driver looked to have used up all his tyres late in the piece.

 

With a few laps to go, van Gisbergen got past Whincup to move up to sixth. Meanwhile, Craig Lowndes got past James Courtney for third having moved up 22 places from the start.

 

Ultimately McLaughlin took hom victory well ahead of Reynolds in second who speared off at the final corner on the final lap. With a hard charging Craig Lowndes in behind, Reynolds just managed to get second ahead of the veteran. 

 

Having been up in fifth, Heimgartner dropped to eighth after a coming together with van Gisbergen. The pair went side-by-side at turn two and Heimgartner got out in the marbles. That sent him off into the grass and he dropped to eighth by the final flag. 

 

Perth SuperSprint Race Two, results:  

Pos Driver Laps
1 Scott McLaughlin  83 laps
2 David Reynolds  +7.9804
3 Craig Lowndes  +10.6476
4 James Courtney  +12.1612
5 Shane van Gisbergen  +17.6959
6 Jamie Whincup  +18.7973
7 Nick Percat  +19.9819
8 Andre Heimgartner  +24.5580
9 Jack Le Brocq  +24.9147
10 Rick Kelly  +28.2302
11 Chaz Mostert  +31.7718
12 Simona de Silvestro  +33.2298
13 Cameron Waters  +33.4671
14 Garth Tander  +33.9180
15 Scott Pye  +41.8664
16 Fabian Coulthard  +42.2749
17 Tim Slade  +45.0913
18 Lee Holdsworth  +45.2740
19 Richie Stanaway  +48.5982
20 Will Davison  +53.9250
21 Mark Winterbottom  +1 lap
22 Todd Hazelwood  +1 lap
23 Anton de Pasquale  +1 lap
24 Tim Blanchard  +2 laps
25 James Golding  +8 laps
26 Michael Caruso  +15 laps

 

Photo: Supplied/Supercars

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