McLaughlin wins Race 12 in Perth from 19th

Scott McLaughlin

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

Championship Standings

1 Scott McLaughlin 1247
2 Shane Van Gisbergen 1089
3 David Reynolds 1079
4 Craig Lowndes 1053
5 Jamie Whincup  979
6 Scott Pye  874
7 James Courtney  864
8 Chaz Mostert  845
9 Fabian Coulthard  809
10 Tim Slade  800
11 Nick Percat  778
12 Mark Winterbottom  767
13 Rick Kelly  733
14 Garth Tander  732
15 Cameron Waters  703
16 Will Davison  649
17 Michael Caruso  613
18 Jack Le Brocq  593
19 Anton de Pasquale  554
20 Andre Heimgartner  533
21 Lee Holdsworth  462
22 Simona De Silvestro  414
23 Todd Hazelwood  394
24 Tim Blanchard  350
25 James Golding  350
26 Richie Stanaway  308

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