Scott McLaughlin has eased himself to his tenth Supercars win of 2020 and his fourth career triumph at Townsville after his main rival Shane Van Gisbergen suffered a steering-related drama late in the race which dashed his hopes of a competitive result.
For McLaughlin, the reigning series champion looked in total control all race. Having maintained the lead from pole, McLaughlin only relinquished the lead during the pitstop phase as he led home on Cam Waters and Chaz Mostert as the sole Kiwi on the podium.
Waters has now finished on the rostrum in Townsville four times in the last five races but is yet to clinch that elusive win.
“Awesome result,” said a pleased McLaughlin. “We had a great car in qualifying which we worked on but we didn’t touch the race car from last week.
“So it bods well for the rest of the weekend but I am very happy with how it turned out.”
Van Gisbergen was in the provisional lead having extended his opening stint beyond that of McLaughlin when he was spied with a plume of smoke coming from the rear of his Red Bull Commodore at Turn 10 on Lap 21.
The team immediately whistled him into the lane with power steering the suspected failure. Van Gisbergen was released back out with a larger steering wheel to try and nullify the issue but was shown the mechanical black flag as he continued to expel smoke and oil.
Steering also proved to be the downfall for Penrite’s David Reynolds who was the race’s first retirement to put a full stop on a disappointing day for the #9.
Jamie Whincup made amends for his shabby shootout performance to finish fourth, ahead of Anton De Pasquale who had a nightmare start which put him on the backfoot for the first half of the race. The only remaining Penrite managed to edge out Nick Percat in a heated battle for the final top-5 position.
Seven-time champion Whincup looked to put some pressure on the race leader with an early pitstop for rear tyres only. But a rapid response one lap later by McLaughlin ensured he rejoined with a comfortable margin back to the Red Bull who then began to fall into the clutches of Waters and Mostert behind.
Both made light work of the Red Bull courtesy of better tyre life and Whincup’s shot of a podium was done for in the space of just a few laps.
Fabian Coulthard, who had missed making the shootout earlier in the day, recovered well to finish seventh as he expertly scythed his way up five positions. Jack Le Brocq, Scott Pye and James Courtney rounded out the top-10.
Behind, Rick Kelly charged from 21st to 11th at the chequered flag having made a raft of setup changes in the short window between qualifying and the race. Todd Hazelwood salvaged 12th having fallen to dead last on the opening tour as he stalled off the line.
Mclaughlin’s victory now means he extends his points advantage at the top of the championship standings to 143 points, Van Gisbergen’s DNF also proved costly from a points perspective as he is demoted by Cam Waters for fourth.
The Supercars paddock will have two more 39-lap races tomorrow to cap off the final day of the month-long haul across Darwin and Townsville.