Jamie Whincup has claimed victory at Symmons Plains in the first race of the weekend at the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint.
Whincup moved into the lead after a string of fast laps, combined with squabbling between Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin, allowed him to jump to first position following his pit stop.
“The crew gave me an absolute rocket today, it was so fast,” Whincup said.
“Really intense at the start there, SVG pitted early then just bolted and tried to get track position. I came out in a good lead and was able to control it from there.
“I’m a long way back (in the championship), that gearbox that blew up in Adelaide really hurt so I need every point I can get right now.”
A bobble at the start saw Whincup lose out to van Gisbergen off the line, having in fact to fend off the attack of Lowndes as Triple Eight locked out the top three positions.
Early leader van Gisbergen stopped on lap 5, with McLaughlin taking to the lane two laps later.
The duo ran side by side as McLaughlin rejoined, van Gisbergen holding the inside line on the run to Turn 4 and therefore the place.
Their battle proved enough of a delay to allow Whincup and Lowndes to leap them following their stops, though van Gisbergen faced no resistance when putting a move on Lowndes at Turn 4.
A sensor problem in the DJR Team Penske Falcon saw McLaughlin fade in the second half of the race, falling to ninth at the chequered flag.
Coulthard made forward progress, a move on Garth Tander at the Turn 4 hairpin, only to find himself relegated a spot on the next lap when Courtney found the door left open at the same corner next time around.
Courtney had pace to burn, quickly extending a gap over Coulthard and soon after closing on and passing McLaughlin.
The Walkinshaw Andretti United driver wasn’t done there as he passed van Gisbergen, who lost two position in the single move as Lowndes opened the door and Courtney followed him through.
There was similar pace in the sister car driven by Scott Pye, but a stall during his pit stop dropped him down the order though still capable of recovering to eighth by the end.
Chaz Mostert was forced out of the race after his car caught fire in the pit lane on Lap 23.
Contact early in the race left Mostert’s Supercheap Auto Falcon carrying damage to the exhaust, which saw the car catch fire during his stop.
Though quickly extinguished, it left Mostert gasping for air as he climbed from the car and stumbled into the team’s garage.
In the early laps Rick Kelly and Nick Percat ran door to door up the long back straight, the Nissan driver holding on in what was a battle for 14th place.
Two laps later Kelly was involved in a clash with Cam Waters, the Monster Energy car off the track at Turn 2 allowing Percat and Mark Winterbottom to scamper through.
It was an incident that caught the eye of the stewards, which quickly confirmed their intentions to conduct a post-race investigation.
Richie Stanaway pitted after three laps with a steering issue caused by contact with Simona de Silvestro, the Tickford Racing car heading into the garage initially before rejoining the race seven laps adrift.
Courtney’s charge made it no further than the bumper of Lowndes, the duo three seconds adrift of race winner Whincup.
David Reynolds ran longer in the open stint en route to fourth, with Coulthard fifth then van Gisbergen, Slade, McLaughlin, Pye and Le Brocq rounding out the top 10.
Sunday’s program begins with another practice session at 0955 local time/AEST to set the order for a repeat of today’s three-part Armor All Qualifying process.
Results: Race 7, Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint Updated
|1||1||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:04.7354|
|2||888||Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:07.0811|
|3||25||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:08.3228|
|4||9||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:09.5281|
|5||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||44:13.4617|
|6||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:19.0835|
|7||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:19.3751|
|8||2||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:19.7579|
|9||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||44:20.5551|
|10||19||Tekno Autosports||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:21.1138|
|11||18||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:21.2887|
|12||8||Blackwoods Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:24.3666|
|13||33||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:28.6013|
|14||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||44:28.8352|
|15||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||50||44:30.4884|
|16||23||Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||50||44:30.7903|
|17||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||50||44:38.1735|
|18||230||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||44:39.1594|
|19||99||Erebus Thermosphere Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:39.6620|
|20||21||CoolDrive Racing||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:44.9852|
|21||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||44:47.5110|
|22||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona de Silvestro||Nissan Altima||50||44:51.8043|
|23||34||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||50||44:53.4269|
|24||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||44:59.4707|
|25||56||Tickford Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||43||44:26.4309|
|DNF||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||22||19:24.9722|
Drivers’ championship Updated
|1||Shane van Gisbergen||588|
|18||Anton De Pasquale||254|
|20||Jack Le Brocq||245|
|24||Simona de Silvestro||171|