Jamie Whincup has taken his first race win of 2019 in the 19th race of the season, at the Century Batteries Ipswich SuperSprint.
The Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver set up the win with an impressive criss-cross of Scott McLaughlin through the first and second corners of the 39-lap encounter, and would ultimately prevail by just over two seconds.
Will Davison got his first podium for 23Red Racing by finishing second in the #23 Milwaukee Racing Mustang, one spot ahead of Tickford Racing stablemate Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang).
Both were late to take their compulsory pit stops (CPS), with Davison undercut by McLaughlin before they passed the #17 Shell V-Power Mustang as the championship leader went on to finish fourth.
Whincup (#88 ZB Commodore) made a strong start from the outside of the front row but Davison’s was even better from third position.
They went three-wide to the first corner on the outside of Armor All Pole-sitter McLaughlin, where there was a touch between McLaughlin and Whincup as the latter executed a slick criss-cross and took the lead at Turn 2.
Davison capitalised by also nabbing second position, while Mostert made under brakes moves on the outside of Shane van Gisbergen (#97 Triple Eight ZB Commodore) at Turn 4 and Lee Holdsworth (#5 The Bottle-O Mustang) at Turn 6 to jump to fourth.
Van Gisbergen also passed Holdsworth, on Lap 2, who then came under pressure from Fabian Coulthard (#12 DJR Team Penske Mustang) before the race settled down somewhat after a manic opening up and down the field.
McLaughlin was four seconds away from the race lead when he took his CPS, a four-tyre change and splash of fuel which took over nine seconds due to a problem with the left-front wheel.
Whincup was 4.3s clear of Davison when he filed into the lane on Lap 15, while Davison was kept out for another four laps before pitting, when he was followed in by Mostert.
Davison rejoined almost two seconds behind McLaughlin, who had been chipping away at Whincup’s advantage, but Car #17 soon started losing pace relative to its nearest rivals.
While Mostert looked a threat to a Davison podium, it was instead Davison who dived past McLaughlin at Turn 3 on Lap 27, before Mostert also outbraked him a lap later at Turn 4.
Davison made inroads into Car #88’s lead, which was out around five seconds, but there was never a serious threat from #23 and Whincup comfortably took his first win since last year’s Sandown 500.
“I’ve been reminded, especially the last couple of months, haven’t had a win for a while,” said Whincup.
“Fantastic to get the win. Big thanks to the Holden supporters for hanging in there, Holden, Red Bull supporters; we’ve had a bit of a drought, it’s been a tough run but we’ve been chipping away.
“There’s still a bit of a performance deficit but we’re forever chipping away.
“It’s been while since I’ve been one-two with my mate Will Davison here as well. Big thanks to the team, big thanks to everyone for coming out.”
Mostert took the chequered flag almost four seconds further back, and McLaughlin was fourth in the end.
Van Gisbergen closed to within a second of his Kiwi countryman as he brought Car #97 home in fifth, while Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang) got by Holdsworth on Lap 32 as they finished sixth and seventh respectively.
Nick Percat was eighth in the #8 Hare & Forbes ZB Commodore, with David Reynolds salvaging ninth after a poor pit stop had dropped the #9 Penrite ZB Commodore back into the middle of the pack.
Coulthard cost himself time with an off at Turn 3 just before the halfway mark before clawing his way back to 10th after being in the thick of a late-race battle.
Todd Hazelwood (#35 Matt Stone Racing ZB Commodore) had challenged Coulthard for his position on Lap 36 and their stoush allowed Reynolds to go past both at Turn 4.
Coulthard fought back at Turn 6 and as those two, Anton De Pasquale (#99 Erebus ZB Commodore), and James Courtney (#22 Mobil 1 Mega ZB Commodore), climbed over the top of each other, Hazelwood pushed De Pasquale off the road at Turn 2.
De Pasquale would finish 14th after Hazelwood was issued a 15-second penalty which dropped him from 12th to 19th.
Courtney was therefore classified 11th and Andre Heimgartner (#7 Plus Fitness Altima) 12th.
Heimgartner had been running in the top 10, as had Tim Slade (#14 Freightliner ZB Commodore), before the former dropped out and the latter ended up stranded in the infield and ultimately a DNF.
McLaughlin’s championship lead is now 334 points while Coulthard remains second, with van Gisbergen another 174 points behind.
Tomorrow’s Virgin Australia Supercars Championship proceedings at Queensland Raceway start with Practice 4 at 0930 local time/AEST, which sets the starting order for Armor All Qualifying for Race 20 from 1120.
Results: Race 19, Century Batteries Ipswich SuperSprint
|1||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||39||46:37.9111|
|2||23||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||39||46:40.0907|
|3||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||39||46:43.9641|
|4||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||39||46:46.6435|
|5||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||39||46:47.6107|
|6||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||39||46:58.7404|
|7||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||39||47:01.0670|
|8||8||Hare & Forbes Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||39||47:03.3778|
|9||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||39||47:13.5534|
|10||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||39||47:14.4129|
|11||22||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||39||47:15.7494|
|12||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||39||47:18.0656|
|13||34||Boost Mobile Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||39||47:18.6573|
|14||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||39||47:20.5691|
|15||18||Irwin Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||39||47:22.1000|
|16||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||39||47:22.8872|
|17||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Michael Caruso||Holden Commodore ZB||39||47:23.8868|
|18||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||39||47:24.2326|
|19||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||39||47:30.9406|
|20||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||39||47:38.9129|
|21||2||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||38||46:43.2924|
|22||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||38||47:27.1930|
|DNF||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||37||44:48.7897|
|DNF||21||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||37||45:10.5584|
|3||Shane van Gisbergen||1780|
|11||Anton De Pasquale||1263|
|20||Simona De Silvestro||889|
|21||Jack Le Brocq||706|