Tim Slade claims maiden V8 race win, McLaughlin takes series lead

An emphatic Tim Slade has won the first race of the Woodstock Winton SuperSprint weekend, in turn claiming his first Virgin Australia Supercars Championship race win since debuting in the series with Paul Morris Motorsport in 2009; having been on the podium 10 times over that period. 


Garry Rogers Motorsport's Scott McLaughlin was the leading New Zealander home, finishing second in the order having withstood a lengthy surge of pressure from Bottle-O Racing's Mark Winterbottom. McLaughlin's result sees him provisionally take the championship lead. 


Slade won the race start, leading the field by himself to turn one. Winterbottom's tardy start saw Scott McLaughlin take over second place, with Cameron Waters and Will Davison rounding out the top five.


As the field worked its way around the circuit, a three-way battle between Lee Holdsworth, James Courtney, and Jamie Whincup. Contact between the train of cars saw Holdsworth get spat out wide at the hairpin. 


As Slade looked solid at the front, Waters was the driver under the most pressure of those in the top five. He first lost fourth to Davison, before getting edged out of fifth by Rick Kelly several corners later. 


First scheduled stops came on lap five; Waters, van Gisbergen, and Lowndes among them. The Triple 8 pairing would exit pitlane with an overlap, with van Gisbergen cutting into the front of Lowndes' car and making minor contact. They would battle together for the full out lap — van Gisbergen resisting the pressure to hold the advantage. 


Their battle would grow by one on the following lap, after Chaz Mostert took his stop. But after a skatey few first corners, Mostert eventually shot away.


The crucial stop for the race-leading Slade came on lap 10. Following a faultless stop, he unsurprisingly rejoined at the head of the field of those to have made their stops. As the stops for his key rivals slowly ticked over, Slade emerged out the other side in the overall lead — with a massive head of steam and a large four-second margin over the second-placed McLaughlin. 


One driver absent from the battle to the flag was Waters. The Monster Energy pilot once again found himself under pressure following the first wave of stops, stuck in the middle of an agressive battle pack that included the likes of Courtney,  Davison, and Michael Caruso.


Embroiled in a dice with Courtney, Waters lost the position at turn four only to perform a switchback move on the 2010 series champion as they approached the sweeper. With only half of his Falcon ahead of the HRT Commodore, Waters cut across; controversially sending both cars into the paddock and out of the top-ten order. 


Avoiding all of the dicing was Slade, taking the race win with a winning margin of over three seconds. He was helped by the long-winded battle for second — which would be won by McLaughlin and his Polestar Volvo S60. After tempting to boil over, the fight for the top five remained static on the closing laps; Winterbottom, Rick Kelly, and Whincup closing out the top five.


Photo: Freightliner Racing




1. Tim Slade

2. Scott McLaughlin

3. Mark Winterbottom

4. Rick Kelly

5. Jamie Whincup

6. Will Davison

7. Chaz Mostert

8. Michael Caruso

9. Shane van Gisbergen

10. Lee Holdsworth