Mostert/Moffat win Race 26 as McLaughlin takes points lead

Chaz Mostert and James Moffat took out Race 26

Chaz Mostert and James Moffat have won Race 26 at the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 as Scott McLaughlin took over the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship lead.

The race fell to Tickford’s Supercheap Auto Racing entry after Fabian Coulthard and Tony D’Alberto were effectively sacrificed to help McLaughlin’s title hopes during a stacking pit stop.

Moffat was handed the lead by D’Alberto, who was on heavy fuel saving, with 66 laps remaining and the #55 FGX Falcon was in control from that point onwards.

Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards (#888 Autobarn ZB Commodore) finished second from 21st on the grid thanks in part to the kind timing of the race’s only Safety Car.

James Courtney got home on fumes to deliver a podium for he and Jack Perkins in the #25 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore, ahead of David Reynolds/Luke Youlden and Scott McLaughlin/Alexandre Premat.

Shane van Gisbergen clawed his way back to 10th after a drive-through penalty for an unsafe pit release while Earl Bamber was in the #97 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore.

Premat showed a clean pair of heels from Armor All Pole Position and led Paul Dumbrell, Tony D’Alberto, Moffat, and Youlden away, the latter of whom lost a position due to a tardy start.

The complexion of the race first changed just two laps in when Dumbrell showed the nose at Premat and tagged Car #17 at Turn 12, which saw the Shell V-Power FGX Falcon bounce off the tyre wall and drop to fifth position.

They pressed on as race control advised of no further action and the only other serious action for the next 20 laps was Lowndes, the only starting primary driver, cutting a swathe from 21st on the grid to eighth position.

A Safety Car called on Lap 23 triggered major drama in the pits and drive-through penalties for both of the Red Bull Holdens.

All of the field, except Dean Fiore (#23 Industrial Athlete Nissan Altima) initially, filed into pit lane but Dumbrell stalled and entered the fast lane right in front of Moffat, who could only run into the #1 ZB Commodore.

Car #97 was also sanctioned for an unsafe release after it forced Garry Jacobson (#15 Castrol Nissan Altima) to brake to avoid contact.

DJR Team Penske was far slicker, short-filling the #12 FGX Falcon in a perfectly timed pit stop which saved having to stack Premat.

The Safety Car was necessitated when Will Brown smacked the outside wall exiting the Front Chicane in Anton De Pasquale’s #99 Erebus Penrite ZB Commodore.

Several missed him but Steve Owen tried to drive through a gap between #99 and the wall which wasn’t quite as wide as the #56 Rabble.Club FGX Falcon and sheared a wheel off the stricken Holden.

D’Alberto led Moffat, Dumbrell, Youlden, Premat, and Richards after the pit stops, while Perkins was ninth and Bamber 11th due to the stack.

Cars #1 and #97 took their PLPs shortly after the Lap 28 restart and both dropped outside the top 20.

The timing of the Safety Car locked most co-drivers into an unusually long shift, and D’Alberto let Moffat pass easily at the start of Lap 37 as he was forced to conserve fuel.

Premat made one attempt to pass the third-placed #9 Erebus ZB Commodore at the Hairpin on Lap 59 before being gifted the spot four laps later when Youlden locked the rear brakes.

Between that time, D’Alberto pitted around five laps short of the accepted critical lap, while the two Walkinshaw Andretti United cars and the #33 Wilson Security ZB Commodore also pitted within the next two laps.

The rest of the field took their respective final pit stops on Laps 60 to 63, all changing to primary drivers, leaving Mostert in the lead from Courtney, Lowndes, and Reynolds.

McLaughlin was fifth having lost track position due to Richards’ fuel saving in #888, while Fabian Coulthard was 10th, Whincup 16th, and van Gisbergen 19th.

Lowndes caught the fuel-saving Courtney with a little over 20 laps remaining and stalked him until he drove past on the run to the Beach Chicane on Lap 97.

By then, Reynolds had closed in but he couldn’t manage to pass Car #25 and finished fourth, while McLaughlin had a lonely run to fifth.

Sixth through ninth were Nick Percat/Macauley Jones (#8 Alliance Truck Parts ZB Commodore), Mark Winterbottom/Dean Canto (#5 The Bottle-O FGX Falcon), Cameron Waters/David Russell (#6 Monster Energy FGX Falcon), and Garth Tander/Chris Pither (#33).

Coulthard also managed to get home on a long final stint but that meant he had no fuel left to try and smother van Gisbergen’s charge home as Car #12 finished 11th.

Whincup, who made life easy when his team-mate van Gisbergen came up behind, finished 14th in the end.

Rick Kelly was 22nd, four laps down, having apparently broken the steering of Car #15 through the Beach Chicane while under pressure from van Gisbergen late in the race.

The win for Mostert and Moffat was team and primary driver’s first since the corresponding race of 2017, and the latter’s second in his Supercars Championship career.

“(Moffat) drove the wheels off it and gave it back in a good position,” said Mostert.

“(I) Just tried to manage the gap and look after the car.

“Unbelievable, it’s been a tough year; this guy is unbelievable, we’re lucky to have him.”

Moffat added, “I’m just lucky to drive this car with Chaz, he’s an absolute animal, massive talent, so I thank him for bringing me along for the ride.

“I’ve been trying so damn hard to get one of those surfboards (trophy) and we got one.”

Courtney, meanwhile, still had enough fuel to drive into parc ferme.

“The fuel alarm came on just as I went into the pit lane,” he advised.

“Our thing is amazing on economy and the boys in the engine shop have done an amazing job.

“We pitted a bit earlier, got track position and then just tried to hang on. Lowndes had so much pace in the end there and we just had no tyres left.”

McLaughlin turned a 19-point deficit into a 14-point lead over van Gisbergen in the championship as Lowndes/Richards extended their Pirtek Enduro Cup lead.

The field is next on track for Armor All Qualifying for Race 27 tomorrow at 1020 local time/1120 AEDT.

Results: Race 26, Vodafone Gold Coast 600

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Drivers Car Laps Race time
1 55 Supercheap Auto Racing C.Mostert/J.Moffat Ford Falcon FG/X 102 2:11:13.6939
2 888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing C.Lowndes/S.Richards Holden Commodore ZB 102 2:11:23.1964
3 25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing J.Courtney/J.Perkins Holden Commodore ZB 102 2:11:24.6592
4 9 Erebus Penrite Racing D.Reynolds/L.Youlden Holden Commodore ZB 102 2:11:24.8807
5 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team S.McLaughlin/A.Premat Ford Falcon FG/X 102 2:11:27.3882
6 8 Alliance Truck Parts Racing N.Percat/M.Jones Holden Commodore ZB 102 2:11:44.5081
7 5 The Bottle-O Racing Team M.Winterbottom/D.Canto Ford Falcon FG/X 102 2:11:47.8445
8 6 Monster Energy Racing C.Waters/D.Russell Ford Falcon FG/X 102 2:11:48.1611
9 33 Wilson Security Racing GRM G.Tander/C.Pither Holden Commodore ZB 102 2:11:49.1875
10 97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team S.van Gisbergen/E.Bamber Holden Commodore ZB 102 2:11:50.1837
11 12 Shell V-Power Racing Team F.Coulthard/T.D’Alberto Ford Falcon FG/X 102 2:11:54.2766
12 230 Milwaukee Racing W.Davison/A.Davison Ford Falcon FG/X 102 2:11:55.9434
13 2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing S.Pye/W.Luff Holden Commodore ZB 102 2:11:57.0250
14 1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team J.Whincup/P.Dumbrell Holden Commodore ZB 102 2:11:57.6806
15 18 Preston Hire Racing L.Holdsworth/J.Bright Holden Commodore ZB 102 2:12:04.4791
16 19 Tekno Autosports J.Le Brocq/J.Webb Holden Commodore ZB 102 2:12:06.8611
17 21 Team CoolDrive T.Blanchard/D.Wood Holden Commodore ZB 102 2:12:25.6190
18 78 Team Harvey Norman Silvestro/A.Rullo Nissan Altima 102 2:12:26.0482
19 7 Plus Fitness Racing A.Heimgartner/A.Russell Nissan Altima 101 2:11:31.2976
20 35 Bigmate Racing T.Hazelwood/B.Fullwood Holden Commodore VF2 101 2:11:36.4313
21 14 Freightliner Racing T.Slade/A.Walsh Holden Commodore ZB 99 2:11:14.0648
22 15 Castrol Racing R.Kelly/G.Jacobson Nissan Altima 98 2:12:03.6524
23 23 Drive Racing M.Caruso/D.Fiore Nissan Altima 95 2:12:01.8322
24 34 Wilson Security Racing GRM J.Golding/R.Muscat Holden Commodore ZB 91 2:11:45.2014
DNF 99 Erebus Motorsport William Brown Holden Commodore ZB 22 27:04.5744
DNF 56 Racing Steve Owen Ford Falcon FG/X 22 27:14.5515

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Pts
1 Scott McLaughlin 3368
2 Shane van Gisbergen 3354
3 Jamie Whincup 2935
4 Craig Lowndes 2925
5 David Reynolds 2687
6 Chaz Mostert 2438
7 Fabian Coulthard 2354
8 Rick Kelly 2281
9 Scott Pye 2248
10 Nick Percat 2053
11 Tim Slade 2012
12 Garth Tander 1914
13 Mark Winterbottom 1874
14 Will Davison 1732
15 James Courtney 1725
16 Cameron Waters 1582
17 Michael Caruso 1525
18 Jack Le Brocq 1499
19 Andre Heimgartner 1442
20 Anton De Pasquale 1314
21 James Golding 1238
22 Lee Holdsworth 1167
23 Tim Blanchard 1142
24 Simona de Silvestro 1119
25 Richie Stanaway 1043
26 Todd Hazelwood 1030
27 Steven Richards 696
28 Alexandre Premat 609
29 Earl Bamber 576
30 James Moffat 546
31 Warren Luff 546
32 Paul Dumbrell 519
33 Macauley Jones 495
34 Luke Youlden 474
35 Chris Pither 456
36 Tony D’Alberto 432
37 Garry Jacobson 363
38 Dean Canto 342
39 Richard Muscat 315
40 Alex Davison 309
41 David Russell 294
42 Aaren Russell 288
43 Ashley Walsh 270
44 Jonathon Webb 255
45 Dale Wood 252
46 Jack Perkins 243
47 Bryce Fullwood 219
48 Jason Bright 216
49 William Brown 204
50 Alex Rullo 177
51 Steve Owen 168
52 Dean Fiore 96
53 Kurt Kostecki 90

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