McLaughlin snatches win as Tander runs dry

Scott McLaughlin snatched victory in Race 35

Scott McLaughlin snatched victory in Race 35

Scott McLaughlin snatched victory in Race 35 after long time leader Garth Tander ran out of fuel on the run to chequered flag at the Plus Fitness Phillip Island 400.

Tander seemed likely to secure the win for the Holden Racing Team having led the majority of the race, but his Commodore spluttered on the pit straight on the final lap, allowing early leader McLaughlin to triumph.

The victory was McLaughlin’s second of the weekend and his fourth of the season, moving him to fifth in the championship.

“I’m so pumped but I feel for Garth. He drove an awesome race and that was all I had,” said McLaughlin.

“I’ve seen it happen before but I never, ever thought it would happen for me.”

Tander rolled home in second with Mark Winterbottom completing the podium for Ford Performance Racing.

It was even start from the front row men of McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup with the Volvo eventually muscling his way in front after brushing the champion into the Southern Loop.

Tander made the most of the slight contact between the front two as he jumped from fourth to second with a slick move on Whincup at Turn 3. Winterbottom produced a solid start to hold fourth ahead of Shane van Gisbergen and Michael Caruso.

With the field requiring to complete a 120 litre fuel drop, pit strategy would prove crucial with the first stops arriving on the opening lap. Nine cars headed by James Courtney, including Lowndes elected to duck into the pits.

At the front McLaughlin quickly opened up a 2.6s lead from Tander in the opening 10 laps before the latter made his first stop on lap nine. He was followed in by third-placed Whincup.

McLaughlin pitted a lap later but was unable to maintain his advantage as Tander claimed a net lead from the Volvo.

Behind, Lowndes charged up into the top 10 courtesy of an impressive move around the outside of Nick Percat and Rick Kelly at Turn 1.

The race was neutralised on lap 15 when David Wall steamed into the gravel trap at Turn 12. The Dick Johnson Racing driver pulled up just short of the barrier and was able to continue.

But the deployment of the Safety Car saw the entire field come into the pits.

There was frantic action in the pit lane with teams forced to double stack.

The narrow pit lane produced contact between Jack Perkins and Will Davison while David Reynolds and Jason Bright also collided. Reynolds was issued a pit lane penalty for an unsafe release.

Racing resumed on lap 17 with Tander leading McLaughlin while Winterbottom jumped Whincup in the pits for third spot. Lowndes rejoined the race in 14th having been forced to double stack behind team-mate Whincup.

As Tander opened up a second lead over McLaughlin, the attention soon switched to the battle for fourth with van Gisbergen all over the back of Whincup.

McLaughlin mounted a charge for the victory in the closing stages with the Volvo shadowing the Western Australian’s every move.

The pair fought out a thrilling tussle in the final laps with McLaughlin heaping the pressure on Tander.

In the end, the victory came down to the final 100 metres as Tander suddenly lost power on the run to the flag which allowed McLaughlin to take the chequered flag.

An out of fuel Tander trundled home in second with Winterbottom holding off Whincup for third.

Van Gisbergen finished fifth ahead of Erebus Motorsport’s Will Davison and Brad Jones’ Racing’s Jason Bright.

Elsewhere, Lowndes fought back to finish in 10th position.

Race 35 Results

1 Valvoline Racing GRM Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60 45 01:13:59.6921
2 Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 45 01:14:00.1442
3 Ford Pepsi Max Crew Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 45 01:14:04.6736
4 Red Bull Racing Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 45 01:14:05.0871
5 Team Tekno VIP Petfoods Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 45 01:14:12.6919
6 Erebus Motorsport V8 Will Davison Mercedes E63 AMG 45 01:14:16.0584
7 Team BOC Jason Bright Holden Commodore VF 45 01:14:19.7382
8 Walkinshaw Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore VF 45 01:14:20.0916
9 Norton Hornets Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 45 01:14:21.0006
10 Red Bull Racing Australia Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 45 01:14:22.0111
11 Wilson Security Racing Scott Pye Ford Falcon FG 45 01:14:22.8820
12 Jack Daniel’s Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 45 01:14:25.8770
13 Holden Racing Team James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 45 01:14:26.3262
14 Erebus Motorsport V8 Lee Holdsworth Mercedes E63 AMG 45 01:14:26.9581
15 Jack Daniel’s Racing Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 45 01:14:27.3450
16 Lockwood Racing Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VF 45 01:14:27.8142
17 Ford Pepsi Max Crew Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG 45 01:14:28.4960
18 Supercheap Auto Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 45 01:14:29.6810
19 Norton Hornets James Moffat Nissan Altima 45 01:14:31.2997
20 Team Advam/GB Dale Wood Holden Commodore VF 45 01:14:40.6326
21 Team JELD-WEN Jack Perkins Ford Falcon FG 45 01:14:40.9698
22 Valvoline Racing GRM Robert Dahlgren Volvo S60 45 01:14:43.3560
23 The Bottle-O Racing Team David Reynolds Ford Falcon FG 45 01:14:53.4210
24 Repair Management Aust Racing Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VF 44 01:14:15.1501
DNF Wilson Security Racing David Wall Ford Falcon FG 15    27:53.7138

Championship Points

1 Jamie Whincup 3094
2 Mark Winterbottom 2642
3 Craig Lowndes 2547
4 Shane Van Gisbergen 2508
5 Scott McLaughlin 2295
6 Fabian Coulthard 2280
7 Chaz Mostert 2273
8 James Courtney 2265
9 Garth Tander 2064
10 Michael Caruso 1875
11 Will Davison 1793
12 Nick Percat 1785
13 Jason Bright 1734
14 Rick Kelly 1730
15 Scott Pye 1626
16 David Reynolds 1622
17 James Moffat 1609
18 Tim Slade 1422
19 Russell Ingall 1415
20 Lee Holdsworth 1292
21 David Wall 1252
22 Todd Kelly 1236
23 Jack Perkins 1188
24 Dale Wood 1078
25 Robert Dahlgren 859
26 Paul Dumbrell 810
27 Paul Morris 645
28 Jonathon Webb 579
29 Steve Owen 543
30 Alexandre Premat 522
31 Steven Richards 519
32 Luke Youlden 480
33 Oliver Gavin 462
34 Dean Fiore 462
35 Greg Murphy 447
36 David Russell 441
37 Alex Davison 408
38 Warren Luff 402
39 Tony D’Alberto 387
40 Ashley Walsh 381
41 Taz Douglas 339
42 Alex Buncombe 327
43 Cameron Waters 318
44 Tim Blanchard 300
45 Dean Canto 270
46 Andrew Jones 231
47 Greg Ritter 228
48 Steven Johnson 225
49 Chris Pither 156
50 Andre Heimgartner 144
51 Ant Pedersen 144
52 Craig Baird 69


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