McLaughlin wins, Whincup title bid derailed

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin is in the box seat to claim a maiden Supercars title after scoring victory in a dramatic Race 25 at Newcastle that severely dented Jamie Whincup’s title hopes.

The Shell V-Power Racing driver scored his eighth victory of the season to move into a 78 point series lead in what proved to be a pivotal race in the battle for this year’s championship.

Pole-sitter McLaughlin spent much of the race entrenched in the top five after dropping from the lead when the Safety Car was called on an opening lap that spelt disaster for Whincup.

Whincup, who held a 30 point lead ahead of the race, saw his hopes unravel when he and fourth-placed Michael Caruso came together at Turn 3.

The front right of Whincup’s Holden locked with the right rear of Caruso which broke the steering on the former.

Whincup also found the wall, damaging the right rear of his car in the process.

The six-time champion limped back to the pits and into the garage where he his team repaired the car to return him to the race in 24th spot, 13 laps down, before coming home in 21st spot.

McLaughlin stared at the back of a struggling Shane van Gisbergen (Red Bull Holden) for long periods before the final round of stops saw him move into a net second.

He then passed Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds to grab the lead, which he held to the flag, despite a late Safety Car caused by Garry Rogers Motorsport’s James Moffat.

The Kiwi needs only to finish 11th or better to clinch the title on Sunday.

“Long way to go, but yes! That was awesome I’m just so pumped,” said McLaughlin.

“Whatever happens tomorrow, we’ve given it our best shot and a team one, two for Shell V-Power Racing is as good as it gets.

“I really wanted it bad (the victory), got a really good start for once in my life and we were going okay, and then obviously the pit lane was tight in places. But to get the first race win after a full on one is awesome.”

The race produced a grandstand finish as the podium places changed in a matter of laps.

Reynolds was tagged by van Gisbergen, which earned the the latter a 15 second penalty, while the former dropped to fifth at the flag behind Lee Holdsworth, who made the most of a slick strategy.

As a result, Shell V-Power Racing’s Fabian Coulthard moved into second for a valuable team one-two, while Tim Slade completed the podium.

Slade, who started from 15th, had held the lead for large chunks of the race having elected not to pit under the first Safety Car, which put him in a clever off sequence two stop strategy.

The Brad Jones Racing driver rejoined the race in sixth after his final stop but a mixture of strong pace and incidents saw him climb up the order.

Chaz Mostert came home in sixth ahead of Mobil 1 HSV Racing’s Scott Pye, Nick Percat (Brad Jones Racing), Will Davison and Rick Kelly.

Van Gisbergen finished in 16th following his penalty.

There was heartache for Simona de Silvestro late on as she appeared on course to finish fifth before drama struck on lap 78.

The Nissan Motorsport driver climbed into the top 10 after electing to pit on the second lap under the first Safety Car.

However, a maiden top 10 evaporated when she was caught up in a chain of events.

Van Gisbergen was tagged into a side by Coulthard at the hairpin which backed up the chasing pack and allowed Slade to dive underneath de Silvestro at Turn 12.

De Silvestro then ran wide and clouted the wall causing significant damage that resulted in a 20th position at the flag.

The race proved to be one of attrition as a multi-car crash at Turn 8, which included Dale Wood (Erebus Motorsport), Taz Douglas (Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport), Tim Blanchard (Brad Jones Racing) and Jason Bright (Prodrive) prompted a Safety Car on the opening lap.

The incident put Douglas and Bright out of the race.

Moffat also retired when he found the wall at Turn 2 late on, while local Aaren Russell damaged his Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Holden following a hit at Turn 8 mid-way through the race.

Craig Lowndes also threw away a strong top 10 result when he found the wall at Turn 12, which resulted in terminal damage to his Triple Eight Holden.

Results: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Coates Hire Newcastle 500 Race 25

1 Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 91 2:00:01.7051
2 Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 91 2:00:04.1481
3 Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 91 2:00:05.2111
4 Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VF 91 2:00:05.8925
5 Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore VF 91 2:00:12.6051
6 Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 91 2:00:13.5279
7 Mobil 1 HSV Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore VF 91 2:00:14.6904
8 Timken Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore VF 91 2:00:15.5708
9 TEKNO Woodstock Racing Will Davison Holden Commodore VF 91 2:00:16.0339
10 Sengled Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 91 2:00:17.3059
11 Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 91 2:00:19.2144
12 Team CoolDrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 91 2:00:19.9017
13 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 91 2:00:20.4038
14 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 91 2:00:20.7845
15 carsales Racing Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 91 2:00:23.0571
16 Red Bull Holden Racing Aust Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 91 2:00:26.1409
17 The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 89 2:00:24.3682
18 Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing Dale Wood Holden Commodore VF 89 2:00:24.9305
19 Mobil 1 HSV Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 88 2:00:28.5275
20 Team Harvey Norman Simona De Silvestro Nissan Altima 83 2:00:49.5897
21 Red Bull Holden Racing Aust Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 78 2:00:23.6847
DNF TeamVortex Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 62 1:22:16.2653
DNF Wilson Security Racing GRM James Moffat Holden Commodore VF 54 1:41:40.3354
DNF Plus Fitness Racing Aaren Russell Holden Commodore VF 31   41:28.0435
DNF MEGA Racing Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG/X  1    1:49.7208
DNF Repair Management Aust Racing Taz Douglas Holden Commodore VF  1    2:14.1807


Drivers’ Championship Points

Position Driver Points
1 Scott McLaughlin 2970
2 Jamie Whincup 2892
3 Fabian Coulthard 2812
4 Chaz Mostert 2688
5 Shane Van Gisbergen 2631
6 Craig Lowndes 2160
7 Cameron Waters 2137
8 Mark Winterbottom 2112
9 Garth Tander 2100
10 David Reynolds 2067
11 Scott Pye 1741
12 Tim Slade 1740
13 Michael Caruso 1665
14 Rick Kelly 1653
15 Will Davison 1575
16 Lee Holdsworth 1557
17 Jason Bright 1485
18 James Moffat 1476
19 Todd Kelly 1458
20 Nick Percat 1425
21 James Courtney 1398
22 Tim Blanchard 1245
23 Dale Wood 1176
24 Simona De Silvestro 1077
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 Perkins 495
36 Jack Le Brocq 485
37 Dean Fiore 465
38 Luke Youlden 462
39 Chris Pither 462
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 261
52 David Russell 195
53 Shae Davies 153
54 Cameron McConville 81
55 Matthew Brabham 57
56 Ashley Walsh 0


Teams’ Championship Points

Position Team Points
1 Shell V-Power Racing Team 5817
2 Red Bull Holden Racing Aust 5523
3 Prodrive Racing Australia 4284
4 Wilson Security Racing GRM 3576
5 Erebus Motorsport 3303
6 Mobil 1 HSV Racing 3174
7 Nissan Motorsport 3087
8 Brad Jones Racing 3069
9 Nissan NISMO 2742
10 Supercheap Auto Racing 2688
11 Team Vortex 2175
12 TEKNO Woodstock Racing 1575
13 Preston Hire Racing 1557
14 MEGA Racing 1485
15 LD Motorsport 1380
16 Team CoolDrive 1245
17 MW Motorsport 288
18 Team GRM 162
19 Drillpro Racing 147

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