Scott McLaughlin remains unbeaten through the first four races of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship after another comfortable victory at Albert Park.
With the second race of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 run as a full-on sprint with no compulsory pit stops, McLaughlin officially led each of the 13 laps in the #17 Shell V-Power Mustang while Chaz Mostert recovered from a poor start to finish second in the Supercheap Auto Mustang.
Mostert’s rise relegated Tickford team-mate Cameron Waters back to third, while Jamie Whincup was first of the ZB Commodore runners home in fourth in the #88 Red Bull Holden Racing Team entry.
Whincup’s team-mate Shane van Gisbergen, a DNF in Race 3 a day earlier, made up one spot from his relatively lowly starting position to round out the top 10 in the #97 ZB Commodore.
McLaughlin once again headed the field away from Armor All Pole Position but Mostert, who also qualified on the front row, made a tardy getaway.
Waters, on the other hand, was away strongly from fourth on the grid and then went deep under brakes on the outside, emerging from the Turn 1/Turn 2 complex in second position.
Whincup took up third, Mostert fourth, Fabian Coulthard (DJR Team Penske Mustang) fifth, and David Reynolds sixth after prevailing over Will Davison initially.
The latter two were the first to swap positions near the front of the field when Davison put his Milwaukee Mustang down the inside of the #9 Penrite ZB Commodore at Turn 6 on Lap 1.
After McLaughlin put almost a second on Waters on the standing lap alone, and Waters gradually gapped the rest, Whincup was the cork in the bottle as he held up Mostert and Coulthard.
Mostert sent the #55 Mustang down the inside at Turn 13 on Lap 4 and while he had to defend vigorously into the next right-hander, he ultimately made the move stick.
He and Waters were about 1.7s apart at the time of the move, but Mostert needed only three more laps to catch his fellow Tickford man.
It was a brief contest before Mostert got alongside #6 at Turn 3 on Lap 9 and stuck there through the Lakeside Stadium car park to take the place at Turn 5.
McLaughlin got to well over three seconds up on the 24-car field before he cruised home to a fourth win from four in the new season, with Mostert and Waters making for another all-Ford top three.
“I bogged it down but luckily Chaz got a bad one as well so I was able to slot to the inside,” recalled McLaughlin.
“Overall really happy, team did a great job, I felt like I just executed myself really well and hit my marks and controlled the gap to the end.
“I’m careful of my left front (tyre), it’s hard on the fronts around here so you don’t want to pop them and stuff.
“We had a nice gap there where I could just bring it home.
“Look, there’s probably a little bit more in it. Chaz is pretty fast, those boys are pretty quick, so we’ll see how we go.”
Coulthard couldn’t make an impression on Whincup and remained fifth, while sixth through eighth were Davison, Reynolds, and Tim Slade (Alliance Truck Parts ZB Commodore).
James Courtney had a battle on his hands at the end but held off van Gisbergen to finish ninth in the #22 Mobil 1 Mega ZB Commodore.
Mark Winterbottom dropped one spot over the journey to finish 11th in the Irwin Racing ZB Commodore, Lee Holdsworth (The Bottle-O Racing) was sixth of the Mustangs in 12th, and Rick Kelly (Castrol Racing Altima) first of the Nissans in 16th.
James Golding (Boost Mobile ZB Commodore) crossed the line in 21st position but was classified 23rd after a five-second time penalty for a driving infringement, having failed to leave racing room for Andre Heimgartner (Plus Fitness Altima) on Walker Straight at the end of the first lap.
McLaughlin has scooped a maximum 450 points in the season to date, leaving him 116 clear of next-best Whincup on the table.
A 25-lap race with a compulsory pit stop (two tyres) will be held this evening at 1830 local time/AEDT.
Results: Race 4, Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 Updated
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||13||25:39.4415|
|2||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||13||25:41.9634|
|3||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||13||25:45.8511|
|4||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||13||25:46.7539|
|5||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||13||25:50.2624|
|6||23||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||13||25:50.8312|
|7||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||13||25:52.6097|
|8||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||13||25:53.3104|
|9||22||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||13||25:56.6511|
|10||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||13||25:56.8470|
|11||18||Irwin Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||13||25:58.0264|
|12||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||13||26:00.9995|
|13||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||13||26:02.9839|
|14||2||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||13||26:03.5381|
|15||8||Freightliner Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||13||26:04.1606|
|16||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||13||26:05.1170|
|17||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||13||26:08.2876|
|18||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||13||26:09.1522|
|19||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||13||26:15.1181|
|20||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||13||26:16.9540|
|21||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Richie Stanaway||Holden Commodore ZB||13||26:19.6807|
|22||21||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||13||26:20.4865|
|23||34||Boost Mobile Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||13||26:21.0498|
|24||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||13||26:22.5484|
Championship points Updated
|6||Shane van Gisbergen||284|
|14||Anton De Pasquale||190|
|17||Simona De Silvestro||167|
|21||Jack Le Brocq||132|