Scott McLaughlin has won the third and final race of the Supercars Repco SuperSprint at The Bend, leading home Fabian Coulthard in a DJR Team Penske 1–2. Jamie Whincup had a quiet race to finish third. It’s the championship leader’s 11th victory of the season with just four races left.
The Kiwis that finished first and second earlier in the day, Shane van Gisbergen and Andre Heimgartner, had their race’s marred by a lap-one crash that resulted in van Gisbergen being handed a penalty. Heimgartner still starred, however, fighting back to finish seventh.
The opening half of lap one was relatively clean, McLaughlin winning the start over teammate Fabian Coulthard. But the second half wasn’t so clean, particularly at the bottom of the top 10. Race two star Andre Heimgartner looked set to complete a pass on Shane van Gisbergen into the penultimate corner corner only to be turned around when Whincup attempted to ‘criss cross’ the Kiwi coming out of the corner. Van Gisbergen subsequently inherited a 15-second penalty as a result of the incident.
The spun Heimgartner caused the chasing pack to all check up, and in the three-wide melee Mark Winterbottom was tipped into a spin. Most cars were able to get by without contact, but James Courtney wasn’t so lucky — clattering into the Irwin Commodore and causing significant damage on both cars. Despite the damage, both cars were able to get back to pit lane without prompting a safety car.
Nick Percat was the first of the leaders to pit, peeling off from fifth. He was one of the few drivers who decided to stop early, doing so because of a destroyed rear tyre. Next of the leaders to stop was Coulthard from second on lap nine. McLaughlin stopped on lap 11, then Whincup on lap 13. By lap 16 the field had been cleaned. McLaughlin led Coulthard by 2.2 seconds.
Anton De Pasquale, who stopped early, was third, ahead of Whincup, Percat, Cameron Waters, the recovering Heimgartner, Pye, Rick Kelly, and David Reynolds. Van Gisbergen, having cleared his 15-second penalty, resumed the race in 19th.
From here, McLaughlin proved untouchable. He would eventually lead a DJR Team Penske 1-2 over Coulthard, two seconds the difference. The question was whether De Pasquale would be able to survive in third place, as a hard charging Whincup approached. The pairing hit each other at turn six (the Red Bull driver out-braking himself and hitting the rear of De Pasquale before re-addressing), before eventually getting past on the next lap.
With Waters not quite close enough to challenge, De Pasquale was able to claim a deserved fourth place. Waters, Pye, Heimgartner, Kelly, Reynolds, and Todd Hazelwood completed the top 10. Van Gisbergen, after his penalty, recovered to finish 14th.
The series now prepares to race at the Tailem Bend facility again next weekend.
|Anton De Pasquale
|Shane van Gisbergen
|Jack Le Brocq