McLaughlin wins Race 12 in Perth from 19th
Scott McLaughlin has pulled off a highly impressive comeback from 19th on the grid to lead David Reynolds home in Race 12 of the season at Barbagallo Raceway.
McLaughlin gained track position in the early stages and moved into the lead before halfway on genuine pace, while Reynolds finished second despite throwing his Erebus Penrite Commodore off the road at the last corner of the race.
Craig Lowndes passed James Courtney on the penultimate lap to round out the podium from 25th on the grid.
Jamie Whincup led the field away when Red Bull Holden Racing Team team-mate Shane van Gisbergen broke into wheelspin on the inside of the front row and dropped to third, behind Chaz Mostert.
McLaughlin narrowly escaped a multi-car incident on Lap 1 when Richie Stanaway (Mega Falcon) unloaded Scott Pye (Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Commodore) through Turn 5 and Fabian Coulthard dived to the weeds on driver’s left, with stewards to investigate the matter post-race.
The Safety Car was called for the first time in six Virgin Australia Supercars Championship races on Lap 4 of 83 when James Golding ran off and beached his Wilson Security GRM Commodore at Turn 1.
All except Will Davison chose to pit, the #400 Milwaukee Falcon leading Mostert, Reynolds, Andre Heimgartner, Whincup, Nick Percat, and McLaughlin at the restart, while van Gisbergen was 18th having had to stack behind Car #1.
Davison had in fact incurred suspension damage when he and Michael Caruso came together on the opening lap, an incident which saw the Drive Altima retreat to the shed and the 23Red Falcon struggle.
Mostert cleared Davison in six corners and he and Reynolds ran first and second, for the most part just under a second apart, until Mostert, Heimgartner, and McLaughlin all pitted again on Lap 27, a lap after Whincup.
McLaughlin jumped all three while Reynolds waited until Lap 32 to take his second stop and emerged over eight seconds behind Car #17, as it became apparent that a three-stop strategy would be the standard.
Cameron Waters (Monster Energy Falcon) pitted on Lap 34, handing McLaughlin the lead for the first time, while Reynolds gradually began to chip away at the deficit.
The gap ebbed and flowed through traffic before McLaughlin made his final pit stop at the end of Lap 59, one lap before Reynolds did the same and resumed 7.3s behind the Kiwi.
The Erebus Penrite Commodore got within two seconds of the Shell V-Power Falcon before it became apparent with around five laps from home that Reynolds would not be able to pull off the win.
McLaughlin therefore took his fourth race win straight and extended his championship lead to 158 points.
“I’m stoked. Couldn’t believe it,” said McLaughlin.
“These guys just gave me an unbelievable car and the strategy was on point. Got a decent start, for the first time in my life.
“I’m puffing, I was jumping up and down; it was awesome.
“So stoked for everyone at Shell V-Power Racing and home. We made it difficult for ourselves, stuff it, brought it back.”
Reynolds nearly threw away a podium when he ran off at Turn 7 on the final lap, but had enough in reserve to take the chequered flag just under eight seconds behind the winner.
“It was a pretty dick move at the last corner on the last lap,” he admitted.
“Luckily I had a bit of a gap to Craig and still maintained second.
“It was a good race for Scott, he had good pace, but it’s the best performance I’ve had here so really good thanks to the team; they did an amazing job all weekend.”
Lowndes started off the back row and was still circulating outside the top 20 until Lap 17.
The Autobarn Lowndes Commodore did not appear a factor until the veteran and most prolific Barbagallo race winner came charging home in his final, 23-lap stint of the race.
Courtney (Walkinshaw Andretti United Commodore) effectively ran inside the top 10 all afternoon and seemed a chance to win the race before finishing fourth.
Van Gisbergen was the first of the handful of drivers to opt for a four-stop strategy as he recovered from his early stacking to finish fifth.
The 2016 champion displayed excellent situational awareness to avoid a sizeable incident late in the race when Tim Slade ran off at Turn 2/Turn 3 and launched his Freightliner Commodore over the outfield and back into the race track.
Rounding out the top 10 were Whincup, Percat (Coregas Commodore), Heimgartner (Plus Fitness Altima), Jack Le Brocq (Tekno Commodore), and Rick Kelly (Castrol Altima).
Mostert (Supercheap Auto Falcon) lacked pace on his way to 11th, one position ahead of a career best result for Simona de Silvestro (Harvey Norman Altima), while Coulthard (DJR Team Penske Falcon) ended up 16th and Mark Winterbottom (The Bottle-O Falcon) 21st.
An incident between Coulthard and Lowndes on Lap 8 will be reviewed by stewards.
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship continues with the Winton SuperSprint on May 18-20.
Results: Race 12
|1||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||83||01:24:39.3019|
|2||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||83||01:24:47.2823|
|3||Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||83||01:24:49.9495|
|4||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||83||01:24:51.4631|
|5||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||83||01:24:56.9978|
|6||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||83||01:24:58.0992|
|7||Blackwoods Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||83||01:24:59.2838|
|8||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||83||01:25:03.8599|
|9||Tekno Autosport||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||83||01:25:04.2166|
|10||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||83||01:25:07.5321|
|11||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||83||01:25:11.0737|
|12||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||83||01:25:12.5317|
|13||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||83||01:25:12.7690|
|14||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||83||01:25:13.2199|
|15||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||83||01:25:21.1683|
|16||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||83||01:25:21.5768|
|17||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||83||01:25:24.3932|
|18||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||83||01:25:24.5759|
|19||MEGA Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||83||01:25:27.9001|
|20||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||83||01:25:33.2269|
|21||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||82||01:24:42.3635|
|22||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||82||01:24:42.5557|
|23||Erebus Thermosphere Racing||Anton de Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||82||01:25:28.1350|
|24||Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||81||01:25:35.7980|
|25||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||75||01:25:31.8470|
|26||Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||68||01:24:40.2885|
|2||Shane Van Gisbergen||1089|
|18||Jack Le Brocq||593|
|19||Anton de Pasquale||554|
|22||Simona De Silvestro||414|