McLaughlin overcomes Whincup to win Race 9 at Phillip Island

The race-winning pass pic: Matt O’Brien

Scott McLaughlin has won Race 9 and taken over the Supercars Championship lead after finally getting the better of Jamie Whincup in a tense duel at the WD-40 Phillip Island 500.

Whincup made a brave move to take the lead at the second corner and effectively led until Lap 41, when McLaughlin squeezed in front before pulling away.

Rick Kelly elevated himself from fifth on the grid to third, while Shane van Gisbergen persevered with power steering problems to take fourth, ahead of team-mate Craig Lowndes.

McLaughlin and Whincup made an even start from the front row but the latter managed to hang tough on the outside at Doohan Corner and set up a pass into the Southern Loop.

Whincup briefly gapped the #17 Shell V-Power Falcon but they entered pit lane nose to tail at the end of Lap 17, so close that there was contact between the pair at the speed limit line.

The #1 Red Bull HRT Commodore just beat McLaughlin, who received brand-new tyres on his working side, into the fast lane.

But for another short period just after their respective first pit stops, the title protagonists ran line astern until both pitted together again at the end of Lap 31.

McLaughlin’s manoeuvre into the fast lane was a carbon copy of his first pit stop, having to just pull up and file behind Whincup.

Despite #1 having green tyres on all four corners and #17 working side only again, it was Whincup who struggled for pace and ran a defensive line particularly at MG corner.

The 2017 champion, who had a straight line advantage, stepped just wide of the ideal line through Southern Loop on Lap 41, prompting McLaughlin to seize the opportunity and drive through a small gap.

From there, the New Zealander edged to a 0.90s win after the 57 laps, his second of the season.

“I’m happy we looked after the tyres at the end; we need to look at them big time for tomorrow,” said McLaughlin.

“I was working him (Whincup) for ages and I need to get close through (Turn) 1; I was good there.

“His thing is so fast down the straight; even in the tow he’s pulling away from me.

“Anyway, the thing’s all good and we’re having fun.”

The result means that McLaughlin leads Whincup by a single championship point.

Kelly emerged third in the Castrol Altima after the first compulsory pit stop cycle and remained in that effective position for the balance of the motor race.

Van Gisbergen sat third initially but lost track position due to a longer fill than Kelly at his first pit stop.

He began to struggle physically with a power steering issue in the #97 Red Bull Commodore but appeared to be doing enough to salvage a fourth position finish.

However, with six laps remaining van Gisbergen fanned the throttle and let a speedier Lowndes go past.

The Autobarn Lowndes Racing driver set off after Kelly but ran out of laps to challenge Car #15.

With that, Lowndes appeared to let van Gisbergen reclaim fourth position on the final lap.

Chaz Mostert had a strong finish to the race to rise to sixth position in the Supercheap Auto Racing Falcon, ahead of the Erebus Motorsport Commodores of David Reynolds and rookie Anton De Pasquale.

Will Davison (23Red Racing Falcon) and Scott Pye (Walkinshaw Andretti United Commodore) rounded out the top 10.

Fabian Coulthard, who was second-fastest in qualifying but then excluded for having too much rear wing angle, climbed from the rear of grid to mid-pack during his first stint.

The #12 DJR Team Penske Falcon made little progress thereafter and took the chequered flag in 13th.

Michael Caruso also moved forward from the back row of the grid, where he started after causing a red flag early in qualifying.

The #23 Drive Altima was pitted at the end of Lap 1 and again 26 laps later, eventually finishing 18th.

James Golding finished seven laps down in 25th after first copping a penalty for turning Simona de Silvestro around then spending time in the garage with steering damage on the #34 Garry Rogers Motorsport Commodore.

Nick Percat was another five laps off the pace, finishing in last position after splitter problems on the #8 Brad Jones Racing Commodore.

The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s Sunday program begins with Armor All Qualifying for Race 10 at 1040 local time/AEST.

Results: Race 9, WD-40 Phillip Island 500 Updated

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Laps Race time
1 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:30:50.5677
2 15 Castrol Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 57 1:30:52.9714
3 97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:30:59.6513
4 888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:31:02.8506
5 55 Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:31:04.1244
6 9 Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:31:08.9006
7 99 Erebus Thermosphere Racing Anton De Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:31:09.4218
8 230 Milwaukee Racing Will Davison Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:31:22.1069
9 2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:31:22.9112
10 14 Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:31:23.0597
11 33 Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:31:24.1696
12 12 Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:31:24.5134
13 200 The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:31:25.0212
14 1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:31:29.4637
15 7 Plus Fitness Racing Andre Heimgartner Nissan Altima 57 1:31:30.3673
16 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:31:35.4964
17 25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:31:35.9702
18 23 Drive Racing Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 57 1:31:36.4226
19 56 MEGA Racing Richie Stanaway Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:31:43.9189
20 19 Tekno Autosports Jack Le Brocq Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:31:45.4619
21 21 Team CoolDrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:32:03.1678
22 18 Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:32:04.0391
23 35 Bigmate Racing Todd Hazelwood Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:32:19.4337
24 78 Team Harvey Norman Simona de Silvestro Nissan Altima 57 1:32:29.7485
25 34 Wilson Security Racing GRM James Golding Holden Commodore ZB 50 1:32:07.5940
26 8 Coregas Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 45 1:32:11.4669

Drivers’ championship Updated

Pos Driver Pts
1 Scott McLaughlin 797
2 David Reynolds 749
3 Shane van Gisbergen 747
4 Jamie Whincup 721
5 Craig Lowndes 717
6 James Courtney 678
7 Scott Pye 673
8 Chaz Mostert 605
9 Tim Slade 557
10 Garth Tander 543
11 Fabian Coulthard 542
12 Nick Percat 532
13 Mark Winterbottom 527
14 Cameron Waters 481
15 Will Davison 466
16 Rick Kelly 463
17 Michael Caruso 430
18 Anton De Pasquale 410
19 Jack Le Brocq 401
20 Andre Heimgartner 350
21 Lee Holdsworth 345
22 Tim Blanchard 281
23 Todd Hazelwood 280
24 Simona de Silvestro 246
25 James Golding 233
26 Richie Stanaway 182

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