McLaughlin takes Mustang to dominant first-up win
Scott McLaughlin has christened the new Ford Mustang with a dominant all-the-way victory in Race 1 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in Adelaide.
McLaughlin stole the lead after a miscue from pole-sitting Shell V-Power Racing team-mate Fabian Coulthard at the start and, aside from only the first pit stops cycle, was never headed again.
The Red Bull Holden Racing Team entries filled out the podium with Jamie Whincup second and Shane van Gisbergen third, while Coulthard took sixth in the end after his false start and 10-second penalty.
Will Davison earned Milwaukee Racing’s best result to date in fourth in its first race out of the Tickford stable, having twice been the beneficiary of Chaz Mostert errors.
Mostert still finished fifth from 12th on the grid in the Supercheap Auto Mustang.
Armor All Pole Position man Coulthard and fellow front row starter Whincup both flinched before the red lights went out, which saw McLaughlin go three-wide with them and take the lead on the inside through Senna Chicane.
Coulthard held Whincup wide and that allowed van Gisbergen to make an opportunist move past his Red Bull Holden team-mate and into third position out of the complex.
The DJR Team Penske Mustangs were each creeping away from the following car when officials determined that Coulthard had indeed moved out of his grid box at the start and would serve a hold penalty at his first pit stop, while Whincup’s movement was cleared.
Van Gisbergen got loose on the edge of the road under brakes at Turn 14 on Lap 5, inviting Whincup on his inside and ultimately ceding third position up the main straight.
Coulthard pitted at the end of Lap 10 and resumed in 22nd position, leaving Whincup second to McLaughlin by about 3.5s.
Cameron Waters, meanwhile, was driving the Monster Energy Mustang with a frozen coolsuit, and dropped positions to Davison and Mostert on Lap 14 as a result of an error at Turn 9 while running fourth.
Van Gisbergen pitted for a first time at the end of Lap 18, Whincup Lap 20, and McLaughlin Lap 22, and they continued as the top three in the same order when the cycle completed at the end of Lap 26.
Coulthard had picked his way through a number of cars to be an effective fifth before a pacey Mostert squeezed past him on Lap 26.
The Tickford driver got by pseudo team-mate Davison on Lap 36 and was soon on the tail of third-placed van Gisbergen.
He shaped for a move at Turn 9 on Lap 40 but pinched the right-front and ran long on the inside of the #97 ZB Commodore, which saw him hand fourth position back to Davison.
Davison was into the lane for his second pit stop on Lap 41, then van Gisbergen and Mostert a lap later, and those two exited together some five seconds up the road from the former’s 23Red car.
Mostert would apply significant pressure to van Gisbergen but the Kiwi repeatedly ran the #97 ZB Commodore down a defensive line into Turn 9.
It was the Tickford driver who would instead blink when he made yet another right-front lock-up at Turn 4 on Lap 49 and the #55 Mustang sailed down Wakefield Street.
Coulthard had pitted for a final time on Lap 45 and had crew members in the boot of the #12 Mustang in a bid to address a fluid leak which manifested itself in the laps following his first fill.
He would tail Mostert for a number of laps after the latter’s error but couldn’t find a way past and drifted back.
Whincup, meanwhile, was over 12 seconds in arrears of McLaughlin when he brought the #88 ZB Commodore into the pits and took green tyres on Lap 48, and over 15 seconds once McLaughlin’s Ford had a final drink of fuel and roaded tyres three laps later.
There were twin nervous moments for DJR Team Penske when #17 replicated the #12 fluid leak, and #12’s wing was spotted flexing laterally, but McLaughlin was otherwise untroubled on his way to a first win for himself in Adelaide and Ford’s since the Sunday of 2012.
For the Mustang nameplate, it was a first Australian Touring Car Championship race win since 1972.
“Adelaide’s an awesome place. That’s one for you Ford fans, one for the Mustang,” exclaimed McLaughlin.
“We’re here. We’re here to party and we’re going to have a good time. How was my bloody start mate, I was stoked!
“It was really tough,” he added about the 40-plus degree conditions.
“Cooling and all that stuff was really good for us. We just brought it home.
“I’m really happy with the car, Shell V-Power Racing; great start. We don’t have the #1 on the door but we were one today. We’ll push on from here.”
Whincup was officially 12.9651s back at the chequered flag and van Gisbergen another 0.9884s, while Davison was slightly threatened by Mostert but kept in front.
“Reasonably happy with that,” said Whincup.
“Didn’t get the best start; Fabs jumped then I went ‘Oh, are we going or we’re not?’ I had the big panic.
“But anyway, car was good. Team did a great job keeping us cool in there as well so don’t feel too bad at the moment.
“But congratulations to Scotty. Nobody was touching him today. We’ll go away and do some homework and see if we can come back stronger and better tomorrow.”
Coulthard survived a bump of the wall at the Turn 8 Sweeper with around 10 laps remaining to finish sixth, with the top 10 rounded out by Nick Percat (National Pharmacies ZB Commodore), David Reynolds (Penrite Racing ZB Commodore), Mark Winterbottom (Irwin Racing ZB Commodore), and James Courtney (Mobil 1 Mega Racing ZB Commodore).
Rick Kelly was first of the Kelly Racing entries in 11th in the Castrol Racing Altima, with rookie team-mate Garry Jacobson 19th in the Rabble.Club Racing car.
The top 16 finished on the lead lap, Lee Holdsworth and Waters were classified multiple laps down, and Scott Pye was the only DNF of the 23 starters.
Holdsworth slid the Bottle-O Mustang into the new Turn 7 tyre wall on Lap 26 and Pye (Mobil 1 Mega Racing ZB Commodore) in turn piled into him, the former needing a new bootlid after his was clipped by Tim Slade (Freightliner ZB Commodore) as he sat prone.
Waters was ordered into pit lane to address his driver cooling drama, while Macauley Jones was a scratching after his Practice 4 crash in the CoolDrive ZB Commodore.
Armor All Qualifying for tomorrow’s second race at the Superloop Adelaide 500 starts at 1030 local time/1100 AEDT.
Results: Race 1, Superloop Adelaide 500
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||78||1:48:02.4643|
|2||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||78||1:48:15.4294|
|3||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||78||1:48:16.4178|
|4||23||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||78||1:48:17.4068|
|5||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||78||1:48:20.0357|
|6||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||78||1:48:24.7543|
|7||8||Team National Pharmacies||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||78||1:48:35.7433|
|8||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||78||1:48:36.2362|
|9||18||Irwin Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||78||1:48:51.8307|
|10||22||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||78||1:48:58.4342|
|11||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||78||1:49:05.8044|
|12||35||Unit Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||78||1:49:06.7718|
|13||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||78||1:49:08.3106|
|14||34||Boost Mobile Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||78||1:49:11.1451|
|15||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||78||1:49:13.0468|
|16||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||78||1:49:22.5749|
|17||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||77||1:48:12.1648|
|18||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Richie Stanaway||Holden Commodore ZB||77||1:48:21.3804|
|19||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||77||1:48:42.1737|
|20||19||Team TEKNO||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||77||1:48:56.9927|
|21||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||72||1:49:08.1441|
|22||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||64||1:49:00.0557|
|DNF||2||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||25||35:08.7496|
|3||Shane van Gisbergen||129|
|15||Simona De Silvestro||60|
|16||Anton De Pasquale||57|
|20||Jack Le Brocq||45|