Van Gisbergen wins, Whincup throws away second
Saturday 23rd November, 2019 - 6:32pm
Shane van Gisbergen has won Race 31 at the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 but a Jamie Whincup error cost Triple Eight a likely one-two and crucial teams’ championship points.
Van Gisbergen effectively led all the way but an off for Whincup saw him not only finish eighth when second position was there for the taking, he also opened the door for Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard to give Shell V-Power Racing a double podium.
DJR Team Penske will therefore take an expanded 143-point lead over the Red Bull Holden Racing Team into the final race of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship with a maximum 288 points still on offer.
David Reynolds (#9 Penrite Racing ZB Commodore) finished fourth, Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang) was fifth, and Scott Pye (#2 Mobil 1 ZB Commodore) came home with a wet sail to take sixth from last on the grid.
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McLaughlin (#17 Mustang) had made a better start than van Gisbergen (#97 ZB Commodore) but did so from the outside of the front row and the Armor All Pole-sitter reclaimed the lead through the first corner.
With McLaughlin held wide, he ceded second position to Whincup as they climbed Watt Street, while Waters took up fourth, Anton De Pasquale (#99 Penrite ZB Commodore) was fifth, and Reynolds dived past Coulthard (#12 Mustang) to take sixth at the second corner.
The front-runners ran nose-to-tail for the first handful of laps and McLaughlin was still only about 0.6s back from Whincup when DJRTP took him out of the pack and into pit lane at the end of Lap 7, while Reynolds came in from just behind team-mate De Pasquale four laps later.
Whincup was about half a second back from his own team-mate when he pitted at the end of Lap 16 and resumed in 16th, one position and around four seconds adrift of McLaughlin by the time he got up to speed.
McLaughlin had reportedly taken on around 35 litres of fuel and Whincup about 57, explaining the large gap, but the Triple Eight Race Engineering driver caught the #17 Mustang on the road by Lap 25.
De Pasquale took his first compulsory pit stop on Lap 26 but was soon back into his lane with Car #99 breathing power steering fluid, and he dropped three laps in the garage.
Van Gisbergen continued to lead and was still displaying impressive mid-11 pace as the race wore on towards the 30-lap mark.
He filed into the lane on Lap 32 and resumed in sixth position, one spot and almost 5.5s in arrears of Whincup but having had a longer dwell time.
Coulthard completed the cycle when he pitted from the nominal lead on Lap 35.
At that point in time, McLaughlin was about three-quarters of a second up on Whincup, with a closing van Gisbergen third from Reynolds, James Courtney (#22 Mobil 1 ZB Commodore), Waters, Tim Slade (#14 Freightliner ZB Commodore), Coulthard, a three-stopping Simona De Silvestro (#78 Harvey Normal Altima), and Lee Holdsworth (#5 The Bottle-O Mustang).
Whincup could not find a way past McLaughlin and when van Gisbergen caught him, the seven-time champion let his team-mate through at the Hairpin on Lap 43.
McLaughlin’s lead was just under 1.2s at the end of that lap but the top three were virtually back together again around five laps later, with van Gisbergen reportedly only needing 19 seconds’ worth of fuel at his next pit stop, Whincup a bit over 24 seconds’ and McLaughlin about 28 seconds’.
Van Gisbergen was not putting McLaughlin under serious pressure but still lurking a few tenths of a second back when the official leader took his second stop on Lap 50 and rejoined 12th.
Whincup and Coulthard peeled off a lap later and by the time they got back out it was Whincup in eighth, McLaughlin around 3.5s back in 10th, and Coulthard 12th.
Van Gisbergen caught De Silvestro on the road on Lap 60, which coincided with Triple Eight reportedly setting up in pit lane again, but she let the Kiwi go at the Hairpin and he pressed on.
Will Davison (#23 Milwaukee Mustang) had only made one pit stop when he flicked on the blinker and let McLaughlin take over sixth as they climbed Watt Street on Lap 60, while Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang) similarly made life easy for Whincup to take second spot at the Hairpin on Lap 63.
Van Gisbergen was a touch over 50 seconds ahead when he took his second pit stop on Lap 64 and was still 4.1s up the road from Whincup at the end of his out lap.
Another Triple Eight one-two looked highly likely until Whincup sailed up the run-off area at the end of the main straight on Lap 75 and plummeted to seventh position.
The error meant that van Gisbergen led the race by about 10 seconds from McLaughlin, with Coulthard third.
Whincup caught back up to Courtney on Lap 85 but only got held up until Courtney’s team-mate, Pye, jammed Car #2 down the inside of Car #88 at the end of Zaara Street on Lap 88.
Pye put a similar move on Courtney himself two laps later to take sixth, at which time Whincup latched back onto the rear of Car #22.
Whincup nudged Courtney when he locked up at Turn 1 on Lap 92, which saw Slade close in, but there would be no further changes of position there.
Van Gisbergen’s official margin of victory was 10.5269s, ahead of McLaughlin, Coulthard, Reynolds, Waters, Pye, Courtney, Whincup, Slade, and Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore).
“Awesome day for us,” said van Gisbergen.
“Shame about Jamie making a mistake there, that would be been great team points, but thanks to the guys, car was awesome, had a cool start, good battle, and then forced our way through.
On his dominant showing, which came after he only just made the Armor All Top 10 Shootout, van Gisbergen explained, “Yeah that’s thanks to Shippy (engineer Grant McPherson), tuning that up in qualifying; that set us up for the win because you simply just can’t pass here.
“(I) caught up in the middle stint and then you just get stuck behind. Great strategy to get us the win, that was all a team effort.”
McLaughlin commented post-race, “Great job for everyone at Shell V-Power Racing, (positions) two and three.
“Obviously Jamie made a mistake there and gifted us that double podium, (but) I’m sure they’ll come back strong tomorrow.
“Great team result.”
Mostert put a straightforward move on Holdsworth at the top of Watt Street with 20 laps remaining and they finished 11th and 12th respectively, while Rick Kelly (#15 Castrol Altima) was top Nissan driver in 13th.
The top 17 finished on the lead lap in a Safety Car-free encounter, during which a rain cell also stayed away, while De Pasquale was last finisher in 23rd at four laps down.
Jack Le Brocq was the only non-finisher with damage to the rear of the #19 Truck Assist ZB Commodore having been tagged into the wall by James Golding (#34 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore) at Newcastle Beach (Turn 7) on Lap 2.
Stewards took no further action over that incident, nor when Macauley Jones (#21 CoolDrive ZB Commodore) tagged Golding at the Pilot Station (Turn 12) on Lap 41.
Armor All Qualifying for the season-ending race starts tomorrow at 1120 local time/AEDT.
Results: Race 31, Coates Hire Newcastle 500
|1||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||95||1:55:11.9747|
|2||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||95||1:55:22.5016|
|3||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||95||1:55:24.8048|
|4||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||95||1:55:27.2987|
|5||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||95||1:55:34.9325|
|6||2||Mobil 1 Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||95||1:55:35.6924|
|7||22||Mobil 1 Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||95||1:55:41.6254|
|8||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||95||1:55:41.8935|
|9||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||95||1:55:42.6273|
|10||18||Irwin Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||95||1:55:47.3533|
|11||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||95||1:55:53.3783|
|12||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||95||1:56:01.5239|
|13||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||95||1:56:10.4898|
|14||8||Timken Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||95||1:56:12.9166|
|15||23||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||95||1:56:14.5909|
|16||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Richie Stanaway||Holden Commodore ZB||95||1:56:22.6139|
|17||21||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||95||1:56:22.7274|
|18||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||94||1:55:13.4700|
|19||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||94||1:55:30.9693|
|20||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||94||1:55:47.9429|
|21||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||94||1:55:48.8520|
|22||34||Boost Mobile Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||94||1:56:25.6109|
|23||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||91||1:56:20.7118|
|DNF||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||2||3:11.8064|
|2||Shane van Gisbergen||3214|
|14||Anton De Pasquale||2015|
|19||Simona De Silvestro||1513|
|22||Jack Le Brocq||1223|
|1||12||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||6368|
|2||88||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||6225|
|3||5||55||The Bottle-O Racing Team & Supercheap Auto Racing||5156|
|4||6||23||Monster Energy Racing||4903|
|6||2||22||Mobil 1 Racing||4266|
|7||8||14||Freightliner & Timken Racing||4203|
|8||7||15||Castrol Racing & Plus Fitness Racing||3589|
|9||33||34||Boost Mobile Racing||3040|
|10||3||78||Team Harvey Norman & RABBLE.club Racing||2656|
|14||19||Truck Assist Tekno Racing||1208|