McLaughlin continues winning streak in Perth
Scott McLaughlin has taken a third straight win in both the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship and at Barbagallo Raceway.
McLaughlin led all the way but for pit stops in Race 11 of the season with the podium rounded out by Mark Winterbottom and Shane van Gisbergen, both of whom drove back through the field after late tyre changes.
The #17 Shell V-Power FGX Falcon started from pole position and headed team-mate Fabian Coulthard up the hill for the first of 50 laps.
Cameron Waters (Monster Energy Falcon) started from the outside of the front row but broke into wheelspin when the lights went out and fell back to fourth, behind Tickford Racing team-mate Winterbottom and ahead of Slade (Freightliner Commodore).
McLaughlin gradually gapped the field as Coulthard held up Winterbottom, and the split from #17 to #12 was out to almost 7.3s when the leader pitted at the end of Lap 19.
Coulthard peeled into the lane a lap later but Winterbottom waited all the way until the end of Lap 29, each giving up significantly more track position than the last.
McLaughlin emerged ahead of Chaz Mostert, who pitted from seventh on Lap 16, and Jamie Whincup (Red Bull HRT Commodore), who was the second driver to take service at the end of Lap 15 having started 14th.
They ran in that order, McLaughlin with a comfortable and growing lead until Mostert attempted to pull off for pit lane at the end of Lap 33.
However, the Supercheap Auto Falcon was unloaded by Whincup as he slowed up through Turn 7 and pirouetted before taking service again and resuming in 22nd position.
Whincup began to struggle for tyre life himself and started to drop down the order with just over 10 laps remaining.
The defending champion, by now back in sixth and bereft of pace, pitted for brand new tyres at the end of Lap 39 but was delayed by a slow right-rear change.
Shortly after came the call that Car #1 would be handed a five-second penalty for the incident with Mostert.
Meanwhile, Slade, whose first stint was 20 laps before he jumped Waters through the pit stops, had inherited second but did not look like threatening McLaughlin.
The threat instead came from the Bottle-O Falcon with Winterbottom charging back from 15th after his relatively late pit stop.
He passed Craig Lowndes (Autobarn Commodore) and Waters with ease between Turns 6 and 7 on Lap 46 before picking off Slade two laps later.
Winterbottom finished 5.6s behind McLaughlin, a winner for the fourth time in 2018 to consolidate his championship lead.
“I was a bit worried there,” revealed McLaughlin.
“When I came out from the pit stop there were lapped cars everywhere and they were battling which they’re entitled to. It got a bit hairy at one stage.
“I got a really good start, which is what I wanted and trucked on. For everyone at Shell V-Power Racing it’s a good start, three in a row now which is nice and great for our championship.”
Van Gisbergen (Red Bull HRT Commodore) had already been passed by McLaughlin by the time he pitted after 30 laps but nabbed Car #14 on the final lap to finish third having started 12th.
The 2016 champion moves up to second on the table, 119 points in arrears of McLaughlin.
Slade finished fourth ahead of Lowndes, Waters, Will Davison (Milwaukee Falcon), and Coulthard, who lost six seconds when he overshot his pit box and also experienced a slow left-rear wheel change.
Nick Percat (Coregas Commodore) finished ninth and Mostert climbed back into the top 10, the first of four cars which pitted twice.
Those four cars finished in consecutive positions with Whincup, Scott Pye (Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Commodore), and James Courtney (Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Commodore) just outside the top 10.
Courtney, like Mostert, was turned around by Garth Tander (Wilson Security Commodore) as he pitted for the first time after just 10 laps, but made a net gain of eight positions over the course of the race.
Rick Kelly (Castrol Altima) was the best of the Nissans in 14th, while David Reynolds (Erebus Penrite Commodore) lost ground in the title race when he finished back in 17th.
The 2017 Bathurst 1000 winner suffered a slow pit stop and appeared to run out of tyre life as he gave up six positions in the final 10 laps.
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s Sunday program begins with Practice 4 at 0915 local time/0935 AEST.
Update: Car #56 issued 15s post-race penalty for careless driving
Results: Race 11, Perth SuperSprint Updated
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||49:34.0255|
|2||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||49:39.6361|
|3||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||50||49:42.9853|
|4||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||50||49:44.0430|
|5||888||Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||50||49:47.4865|
|6||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||49:48.9435|
|7||400||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||49:49.0187|
|8||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||49:49.8577|
|9||8||Blackwoods Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||50||49:51.9880|
|10||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||49:52.3586|
|11||1||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||50||49:52.9945|
|12||2||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||50||49:54.9788|
|13||25||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||50||49:56.4581|
|14||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||50||49:59.4511|
|15||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona de Silvestro||Nissan Altima||50||49:59.5857|
|16||19||Tekno Autosports||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||50||50:02.3748|
|17||9||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||50||50:04.5584|
|18||99||Erebus Thermosphere Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||50||50:04.8923|
|19||33||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||50||50:07.7361|
|20||23||Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||50||50:10.5111|
|21||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||50:13.6397|
|22||34||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||50||50:14.9696|
|23||18||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||50||50:26.4223|
|24||56||MEGA Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||50||50:30.4078|
|25||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||49||49:34.9404|
|DNF||21||Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||48||48:39.2213|
Drivers’ championship Updated
|2||Shane van Gisbergen||978|
|18||Anton De Pasquale||518|
|19||Jack Le Brocq||509|
|23||Simona de Silvestro||345|