McLaughlin prevails despite challenge at PI

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin has overcome a pit lane delay and resistance from David Reynolds to win consecutive races at the WD-40 Phillip Island 500.

The race was decided shortly after the pair made their respective second pit stops, when McLaughlin eventually passed Reynolds.

They ran unchanged for the remainder of the 57-lap Race 10 of the season, McLaughlin winning by 0.67s in the end, while Rick Kelly bagged his second podium in as many days.

McLaughlin faced a challenge from Reynolds as soon as the lights went out, with the #9 Erebus Penrite Commodore launching well.

However, the #17 Shell V-Power Falcon had the inside line by virtue of qualifying on pole and held on to the advantage.

Fabian Coulthard, Kelly, and Jamie Whincup maintained their starting positions to fill out the top five.

The race took its first twist on Lap 8 when the Safety Car was called to recover James Courtney’s Walkinshaw Andretti United Commodore, which had drawn to a halt next to pit entry with a suspected driveline issue.

McLaughlin dropped to fourth after opting for a significantly larger fuel fill than those around him, which compounded when he was delayed in exiting his pit box.

As such, Kelly led Reynolds, Caruso, McLaughlin, and Coulthard, the former of whom had been called prior to the yellows in anticipation of the race being neutralised.

Anton De Pasquale (Erebus Thermosphere Racing Commodore), however, slumped from eighth to 19th when he had to stack behind Car #9.

Kelly gradually gapped the field after the restart on Lap 11, pulling over two seconds clear of Reynolds and nearly four seconds ahead of McLaughlin, who remained fourth.

However, with a shorter first fill he had still not made enough time to re-emerge in the lead when the second pit stop cycle played out.

McLaughlin kicked that off with 30 laps remaining and Reynolds responded a lap later.

The Erebus driver re-entered the circuit just ahead of the New Zealander, ceded his position at Stoner Corner, but straight away fired back past Car #17 at the Turn 4 Hairpin.

McLaughlin maintained the pressure on Reynolds and executed a pass on Lap 31, almost identical to that which he made on Jamie Whincup a day earlier.

The 24-year-old was untroubled thereafter and extended his championship lead.

“I can’t do it without my great team; we had an awesome rocket ship all weekend,” said McLaughlin.

“I had to fight there a little bit and Ludo said to back off just that lap, and I said, ‘Just give me one more lap we’ll try and get past him,’ and we got past him (Reynolds) in the end.”

Reynolds consolidated second on the ladder but was disappointed to not be able to hang on for the race win.

“It wasn’t that epic for me because I lost out,” he lamented.

“We jumped him in the pits and came out and I just had a lot of understeer those first few laps.

“He just snuck past me and there was not much I could do about it.

“I was surprised I could hang with him (because) he’s very fast around here; they could rename him ‘Phillip Mclaughlin’.”

Kelly brought the Castrol Racing Altima into the pits for a second time at the end of Lap 30, needing to wait to ensure he could meet the 140-litre fill requirement.

He rejoined an effective third and while Coulthard, who pitted after Lap 32, closed the gap towards the end he could not get close enough to make a serious play for the podium.

Behind the #12 DJR Team Penske Falcon, Michael Caruso (#23 Drive Altima) gave Nissan Motorsport a double top five after gaining track position in the first pit stop cycle.

Shane van Gisbergen waited until the end of Lap 37 to make his second pit stop, emerging in 11th.

He gradually regained track position until coming up on Triple Eight team-mate Craig Lowndes on Lap 55, nudging the #888 Autobarn Commodore off the road at Turn 12.

The Kiwi had the presence of mind to immediately redress the incident, but the big lift off the throttle cost them any chance of catching Caruso.

Van Gisbergen nevertheless put the #97 Red Bull HRT Commodore into sixth position on the penultimate lap when Lowndes broke into a slide exiting Siberia.

Chaz Mostert finished eighth in the #55 Supercheap Auto Racing Falcon, one position ahead of Whincup.

The defending champion was not a factor as he gradually dropped from fifth on the grid in the #1 Red Bull HRT Commodore, and gave up fourth in the championship to Lowndes.

Garth Tander (#33 Wilseon Security GRM Commodore) rounded out the top 10 while Nick Percat was a commendable 13th having started last after more splitter problems for the #8 Coregas Commodore in qualifying.

Mark Winterbottom finished 15th having run off at the Southern Loop with just over 10 laps to go, with De Pasquale a position further back.

The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship continues with the Perth SuperSprint at Barbagallo Raceway on May 4-6.

Results: Race 10, WD-40 Phillip Island 500

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Laps Race time
1 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:33:03.5824
2 9 Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:33:04.2511
3 15 Castrol Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 57 1:33:07.5317
4 12 Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:33:08.7969
5 23 Drive Racing Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 57 1:33:15.1764
6 97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:33:16.1238
7 888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:33:17.9263
8 55 Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:33:22.7853
9 1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:33:26.9175
10 33 Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:33:31.4807
11 2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:33:32.0096
12 14 Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:33:32.2749
13 8 Coregas Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:33:35.8275
14 7 Plus Fitness Racing Andre Heimgartner Nissan Altima 57 1:33:39.7499
15 200 The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:33:44.2599
16 99 Erebus Thermosphere Racing Anton De Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:33:47.2283
17 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:33:55.2004
18 19 Tekno Autosports Jack Le Brocq Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:33:59.7932
19 34 Wilson Security Racing GRM James Golding Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:34:02.6968
20 56 MEGA Racing Richie Stanaway Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:34:05.1547
21 230 Milwaukee Racing Will Davison Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:34:06.3520
22 78 Team Harvey Norman Simona de Silvestro Nissan Altima 57 1:34:07.0608
23 21 Team CoolDrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore ZB 57 1:34:07.5177
24 35 Bigmate Racing Todd Hazelwood Ford Falcon FG/X 57 1:34:16.4323
25 18 Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore ZB 46 1:34:34.9352
26 25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore ZB 5 7:52.8350

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Pts
1 Scott McLaughlin 947
2 David Reynolds 887
3 Shane van Gisbergen 849
4 Craig Lowndes 813
5 Jamie Whincup 805
6 Scott Pye 745
7 Chaz Mostert 695
8 James Courtney 678
9 Fabian Coulthard 662
10 Tim Slade 626
11 Garth Tander 621
12 Nick Percat 598
13 Rick Kelly 592
14 Mark Winterbottom 587
15 Michael Caruso 541
16 Cameron Waters 535
17 Will Davison 508
18 Anton De Pasquale 467
19 Jack Le Brocq 452
20 Andre Heimgartner 413
21 Lee Holdsworth 375
22 Tim Blanchard 317
23 Todd Hazelwood 313
24 Simona de Silvestro 285
25 James Golding 281
26 Richie Stanaway 227

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