The Red Bull Holden Racing Team has finished first and third in race 20 of the Supercars Championship at Townsville; Jamie Whincup continuing his form at the parklands circuit to lead home Chaz Mostert and Shane van Gisbergen.
Scott McLaughlin, meanwhile, fought from his 13th place qualifying effort to finish sixth in a second consecutive strong comeback. His gap to Whincup in the championship is still over 100 points.
After a much less chaotic opening lap than in yesterday’s race, Whincup held the lead from pole as Mostert, James Courtney, and David Reynolds chased. Behind, McLaughlin battled hard in the midfield — losing two spots on the opening lap to leave him 15th and struggling to claim them back.
It was no surprise to see McLaughlin be the first driver to pit, doing so on lap eight for three tyres. Over the following laps the mid-pack trickled into the lane, with Whincup, Mostert, Reynolds, and van Gisbergen staying out for a longer first stint. It appeared in the case of Reynolds that, once again, his quick single-lap car was struggling on longer runs — van Gisbergen getting by on lap 18.
Mostert and Reynolds finally stopped on lap 21. Van Gisbergen took his stop a lap later, leaving Whincup to finally stop on lap 23. When the dust settled (apart from the late-stopping Scott Pye, anyway), Whincup led Courtney, Mostert, Waters, Percat, and then McLaughlin, de Pasquale, van Gisbergen, and Reynolds.
With Courtney struggling on old tyres, he was no challenge for Mostert. Similarly, van Gisbergen and Reynolds began charging through the top 10.
Whincup held over three seconds of margin to Mostert, leaving him with a relatively straightforward run to the chequered flag for his second race win in a row and the 112th win of his career. Mostert had a lonely run to the finish too, with almost 10 seconds to the battle to third behind.
That battle was between Courtney, Waters, and the hard charging van Gisbergen — who had carved by de Pasquale, McLaughlin, and Percat to be pressuring the Mustangs. The trio were on top of each other with eight laps to go at turn two; Courtney locking his rear tyres and running wide to allow Waters by. Van Gisbergen then got by at the penultimate corner later in the same lap.
Van Gisbergen was soon by Waters and able to cruise to the last spot on the podium. Courtney’s decline continued, with Percat and the tyre-defying McLaughlin threatening him for fifth in the final laps. Courtney had to surrender spots to both of them at turns two and three with four laps to go, after a little bit of door-to-door contact with the BJR driver.
Percat and McLaughlin dueled on the last lap; Percat was able to hold on. Courtney, de Pasquale, a hard charging Pye, and Reynolds rounded out the top 10.
|Shane van Gisbergen
|Anton De Pasquale
|Jack Le Brocq