Scott McLaughlin has won Supercars Championship Race 13 at Winton despite running through the infield on Lap 1 due to a touch from Shell V-Power Racing team-mate Fabian Coulthard.
Both of the DJR Team Penske Mustangs were in the weeds in a manic opening to the race which saw Coulthard serve a 15-second hold penalty during his compulsory pit stop, but it was not enough to stop the championship leader from winning again.
McLaughlin ran through the infield and rejoined in third position, before ultimately picking up two more positions as a result of an incident next time around between David Reynolds and James Courtney.
Chaz Mostert, who started from Armor All Pole Position, got close to the #17 Mustang after the pit stop cycle but couldn’t find a way past and brought the #55 Supercheap Auto Mustang home in second position.
Reynolds led from Lap 2 to his CPS on Lap 20 and still finished third despite having to sit in the pits for an extra five seconds as punishment for moving Courtney aside.
Courtney was another position back at the end, while fifth and sixth went to the Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup respectively.
Coulthard could only get back to 15th in the final classification and saw his deficit to McLaughlin at the top of the points table jump to 232 points.
He had in fact made a better start from the outside of the front row and held the lead despite getting a hit in the door from Mostert at Turn 1.
Further aggravation on exit of Turn 2 saw Mostert lose ground to Reynolds, Courtney, and McLaughlin, before Coulthard broke into a slide through Turn 3.
That opened the door for Courtney to seize the lead and McLaughlin followed him, but the Kiwi had not cleared his team-mate by the time he tried to turn into the Turn 5 sweeper.
The ensuing touch put both of the DJRTP Fords off the road, with Coulthard tumbling down the order but McLaughlin heading through the infield and rejoined at Turn 8 before dropping behind Courtney and Reynolds between Turns 9 and 10.
Reynolds gave Courtney a tap at Turn 4 next time around which put the #22 Mobil 1 Mega ZB Commodore wide and saw the then-race leader drop to fourth, behind the #9 Penrite ZB Commodore, McLaughlin, and Mostert.
McLaughlin continued to circulate in second position and had got Reynolds’ advantage back under a second before he pitted and had all four tyres changed at the end of Lap 12, resuming 18th.
Coulthard was into the lane two laps later having not long been assessed his penalty for the Lap 1 incident, which was initially to go to post-race investigation, and dropped back outside the top 20 by the time he exited the pits.
McLaughlin, on the other hand, was cleared of wrongdoing for the shortcut and ended up four seconds up the road from Mostert when the latter completed his four-tyre stop at the end of Lap 19.
The Tickford driver, on fresher tyres, had all but wiped out that margin in the next half a dozen laps but couldn’t quite lay a glove on the 2018 champion and faded to 1.3s adrift at the end of the 40th and final lap.
“Look, it’s a great start to the year but I couldn’t do it without my team, the supporters and also the volunteers,” said McLaughlin, who started fifth.
On the incident, he stated: “It’s awkward.
“I didn’t know if Fabian was hundred percent there, I thought that was my corner, I felt like I was far enough in front.
“Went off the road and tried to get back and rejoin in the right position, but I was going to go the wrong way so I was damned if I did, damned if I didn’t.
“I pushed on and thankfully it was okay.”
Reynolds found himself quickly passed by Whincup when he rejoined on cold tyres just ahead of the #88 ZB Commodore at the start of Lap 21, but the Albury boy got the spot back and went on to claim his first podium at Winton.
Courtney also passed Whincup after the pit stops before van Gisbergen fired down the inside of his team-mate at Turn 10 with just over three laps to go and just pulled the #97 ZB Commodore up.
Nick Percat (#8 Honda Motorcycles ZB Commodore) made a late move on Lee Holdsworth to finish seventh from 17th on the grid.
Holdsworth (#5 The Bottle-O Mustang) in fact had a penalty hanging over his head for spinning Anton De Pasquale (#99 Erebus ZB Commodore) and was officially put back to 16th, the position in which Coulthard had actually taken the chequered flag.
Andre Heimgartner (#7 Plus Fitness Altima) was first Nissan to the finish in eighth, with Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore) ninth and Scott Pye (#2 Walkinshaw Andretti United ZB Commodore) 10th.
De Pasquale finished 19th and Garry Jacobson (#3 Rabble.Club Altima) only 22nd from a career-best eighth on the grid after finding himself facing the wrong way mid-race.
Simona De Silvestro was 23rd after early contact with Richie Stanaway saw the #78 Harvey Norman Altima spin exiting Turn 12 and the #33 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore entry penalised.
Stanaway rounded out the 25-car field while wildcard Jack Smith (#4 SCT Logistics ZB Commodore) was also a lap down in 24th.
Practice 2 at the Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint starts tomorrow at 0920 local time/AEST, before knockout Armor All Qualifying for Race 14 from 1110.
Results: Race 13, Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint Updated
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||40||54:59.9905|
|2||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||40||55:01.2918|
|3||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||40||55:08.9397|
|4||22||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||40||55:09.5203|
|5||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||40||55:17.2019|
|6||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||40||55:18.4148|
|7||8||Honda Motorcycles Dealer Team||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||40||55:21.6539|
|8||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||40||55:31.7011|
|9||18||Irwin Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||40||55:34.3712|
|10||2||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||40||55:34.6622|
|11||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||40||55:35.5422|
|12||23||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||40||55:35.9115|
|13||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||40||55:36.1180|
|14||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||40||55:37.1678|
|15||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||40||55:37.5663|
|16||21||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||40||55:42.0472|
|17||34||Boost Mobile Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||40||55:52.6695|
|18||99||Penrite Racing||Anton de Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||40||55:53.1180|
|19||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||40||55:53.5507|
|20||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||40||55:55.6675|
|21||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||40||55:56.5103|
|22||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||40||55:56.6261|
|23||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||40||56:12.6242|
|24||4||SCT Logistics Racing||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||39||55:04.7074|
|25||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Richie Stanaway||Holden Commodore ZB||39||55:11.8378|
Championship points Updated
|3||Shane van Gisbergen||1135|
|12||Anton De Pasquale||792|
|20||Simona De Silvestro||583|
|22||Jack Le Brocq||481|