SVG wins, Coulthard title bid takes a hit

Tom Howard

Saturday 4th November, 2017 - 4:05pm

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Fabian Coulthard on his roof in Race 23 pic: Fox Sports

Shane van Gisbergen triumphed in an eventful Race 23 that saw title contender Fabian Coulthard end the race on his roof after a multi-car incident at the ITM Auckland Super Sprint.

The Triple Eight driver drove a faultless race from sixth on the grid to take the win having held his nerve after two late Safety Car periods, the last involving a dramatic crash for Coulthard.

Van Gisbergen found himself third in the early stages before emerging in the lead after the second round of pit stops.

The New Zealander scored a popular home round victory after 66 laps from Prodrive’s Mark Winterbottom, who shadowed van Gisbergen’s strategy.

Scott McLaughlin (Shell V-Power Racing) managed to come home in third despite smoke coming from his Shell Ford in the closing stages, while early leader Jamie Whincup was fourth.

However, the race delivered a championship hammer blow for Coulthard as contact with Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds pitched the pair into the Turn 10 barriers on lap 57.

The incident was initially triggered by Prodrive’s Chaz Mostert, who tried to redress a position after pushing Reynolds wide at Turn 8 while squabbling over fifth.

At the time Coulthard, who was sitting behind the pair, tried to jump ahead of the slowing Mostert before contact saw him upside down in the barriers.

The retirement has seen Coulthard, who was climbed from the wreckage, drop to third in the standings, while Whincup holds an 18 point lead over McLaughlin with Van Gisbergen fourth just 159 behind.

Mostert copped a drive-through penalty for the driving infringement which set off the incident, dropping him to 23rd position and fifth in the championship.

At the start, Whincup leapt into the lead but it was team-mate van Gisbergen who enjoyed the best getaway to claim third from sixth after a dive on Winterbottom at the first corner.

Despite the damp and slippery track conditions the field completed the opening laps unscathed.

The top three of Whincup, Cameron Waters and van Gisbergen soon broke away from Winterbottom in fourth, while McLaughlin dropped a spot to fifth.

Fellow title contenders Mostert and Coulthard both lost two positions on the start as they slid to seventh and ninth.

It wasn’t long until the first round of pit stops began as teams looked to complete the prescribed 120 litre fuel drop.

Van Gisbergen was the first of the leaders to pit on lap 10 which triggered a flurry of stops.

Whincup retained the lead once the field had taken service for the first time but soon faced a challenge from a charging McLaughlin, who took on slightly less fuel, to emerge in second.

Van Gisbergen held third ahead of the Prodrive Ford trio of Winterbottom, Waters and Mostert.

At the front, McLaughlin soon latched onto the rear wing of Whincup and managed to get alongside on the run through Turn 10.

McLaughlin was forced onto the grass after slight contact from Whincup but the former held a slide and continued to shadow the leader until the race was neutralised lap 32.

The stoppage was caused by Mobil 1 HSV Racing’s James Courtney, who found himself buried in the barriers at Turn 4.

The Safety Car prompted the second round of stops with Whincup and McLaughlin pitting immediately.

Whincup just sneaked out ahead of the Ford but the pair were caught behind the Safety Car which allowed van Gisbergen to take the lead from Winterbottom following their respective stops.

The Whincup/McLaughlin battle continued after the restart as the latter finally found a way by Whincup at Turn 8 to move into third spot.

Meanwhile, Winterbottom applied pressure on van Gisbergen for the lead before they were joined in the fight by McLaughlin.

Dark clouds had threatened through the race before delivering sprinkles of rain with 20 laps remaining.

The damp conditions almost caught out Whincup before claiming its first victim when Dale Wood (Erebus Motorsport) found the wall at Turn 4 which caused a second Safety Car two laps later.

Van Gisbergen made a strong restart to gap Winterbottom but it was short-lived as the Safety Car was deployed again for multi-car incident involving Mostert, Reynolds and Coulthard.

Once the action resumed van Gisbergen took the win from Winterbottom, McLaughlin and Whincup.

Jason Bright came home in an impressive fifth from Brad Jones Racing’s Tim Slade and Garry Rogers Motorsport’s Garth Tander.

The top 10 was rounded out by Craig Lowndes, Waters, who suffered an off at Turn 4 at half distance, and Lee Holdsworth (Preston Hire Racing).

Supercars Race 23 Highlights

Results: Virgin Australian Supercars Championship ITM Auckland Super Sprint Race 23

Position Team Driver Car Laps Time
1 Red Bull Holden Racing Aust Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 66 1:23:58.812
2 The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 66 1:23:59.629
3 Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 66 1:24:00.236
4 Red Bull Holden Racing Aust Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 66 1:24:00.691
5 MEGA Racing Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG/X 66 1:24:01.365
6 Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 66 1:24:01.972
7 Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 66 1:24:02.763
8 TeamVortex Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 66 1:24:03.126
9 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 66 1:24:03.569
10 Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VF 66 1:24:04.092
11 Sengled Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 66 1:24:05.286
12 TEKNO Woodstock Racing Will Davison Holden Commodore VF 66 1:24:05.568
13 Wilson Security Racing GRM James Moffat Holden Commodore VF 66 1:24:06.308
14 Mobil 1 HSV Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore VF 66 1:24:06.885
15 carsales Racing Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 66 1:24:07.331
16 Harley-Davidson Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore VF 66 1:24:08.193
17 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 66 1:24:08.754
18 Team Harvey Norman Simona De Silvestro Nissan Altima 66 1:24:09.095
19 Team CoolDrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 66 1:24:09.666
20 Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing Dale Wood Holden Commodore VF 66 1:24:11.615
21 Plus Fitness Racing Aaren Russell Holden Commodore VF 66 1:24:12.583
22 TrailLite Racing Jack Perkins Holden Commodore VF 66 1:24:12.864
23 Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 66 1:24:49.053
24 Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore VF 63 1:24:13.246
25 Mobil 1 HSV Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 63 1:24:13.801
DNF Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 56 1:06:42.055

Championship Standings

Position Driver Total
1 Jamie Whincup 2700
2 Scott McLaughlin 2682
3 Fabian Coulthard 2563
4 Shane Van Gisbergen 2541
5 Chaz Mostert 2490
6 Craig Lowndes 2040
7 Mark Winterbottom 2010
8 Cameron Waters 1942
9 Garth Tander 1926
10 David Reynolds 1890
11 Scott Pye 1567
12 Tim Slade 1551
13 Michael Caruso 1530
14 Rick Kelly 1506
15 Will Davison 1455
16 Lee Holdsworth 1437
17 Jason Bright 1395
18 James Moffat 1392
19 James Courtney 1350
20 Todd Kelly 1347
21 Nick Percat 1272
22 Tim Blanchard 1119
23 Dale Wood 1080
24 Simona De Silvestro 978
25 Steve Owen 660
26 James Golding 624
27 Tony D’Alberto 612
28 Richie Stanaway 594
29 Alex Rullo 594
30 Matthew Campbell 591
31 Paul Dumbrell 534
32 Steven Richards 504
33 Warren Luff 498
34 Alexandre Premat 495
35 Jack Le Brocq 485
36 Dean Fiore 465
37 Luke Youlden 462
38 Chris Pither 462
39 Jack Perkins 456
40 Garry Jacobson 417
41 David Wall 408
42 Jonathon Webb 372
43 Dean Canto 369
44 Macauley Jones 345
45 Andre Heimgartner 336
46 Todd Hazelwood 333
47 Taz Douglas 306
48 Alex Davison 297
49 Richard Muscat 291
50 Karl Reindler 270
51 Aaren Russell 219
52 David Russell 195
53 Shae Davies 153
54 Cameron McConville 81
55 Matthew Brabham 57
56 Ashley Walsh 0

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