Supercars’ return to Tailem Bend saw a first podium appearance, a drought-breaking win, and several comeback drives. In this week’s Pirtek Poll we want to know who impressed you most.
Several drivers stood out in Round 9 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at The Bend Motorsport Park.
Racing on the International Circuit, the three race wins were split between the front-running Shell V-Power Racing Team and Red Bull Holden Racing Team.
However, there were standout performances throughout the field from the likes of Tickford Racing, Kelly Racing, and Walkinshaw Andretti United.
Fabian Coulthard, DJR Team Penske (Race 25 Qual 5th, Finish 1st; Race 26 Qual 4th, Finish 4th; Race 27 Qual 4th, Finish 2nd)
After the previous round in Townsville, Fabian Coulthard said he’d found a “bullet for his gun” heading to Tailem Bend.
Coulthard fired in the first outing, winning the opening race of the weekend after championship combatants Scott McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup collided.
In what was a dogfight for the win, Coulthard overcame Shane van Gisbergen and held off Jack Le Brocq for his first win of 2020.
Jack Le Brocq, Tickford Racing (Race 25 Qual 7th, Finish 2nd; Race 26 Qual 14th, Finish 10th; Race 27 Qual 11th, Finish 21st)
Le Brocq was another standout performer, challenging van Gisbergen throughout the opening affair to be in contention for the win.
His hopes were dashed though as two attempted passes around the outside of van Gisbergen left the Supercheap Auto Racing driver digging holes in the dirt.
He went on to finish second ahead of Super2 Series graduate Bryce Fullwood.
Bryce Fullwood, Walkinshaw Andretti United (Race 25 Qual 13th, Finish 3rd; Race 26 Qual 18th, Finish 16th; Race 27 Qual 22nd, Finish 19th)
Fullwood claimed his first Supercars Championship podium in what is only his first season.
It was an otherwise tough weekend for Fullwood though, who struggled in the second and third race of the weekend with finishes outside the top 15.
Shane van Gisbergen, Red Bull Holden Racing Team (Race 25 Qual 3rd, Finish 9th; Race 26 Qual 2nd, Finish 1st; Race 27 Qual 6th, Finish 14th)
After tyre troubles in the first race, van Gisbergen bounced back with his third win of the year after dual successes in Townsville.
Van Gisbergen paced himself to perfection in Race 26. Despite undercuts by his rivals, van Gisbergen ran long on his first set of tyres and was able to come through after his pit stop to win.
He couldn’t convert in the third instance after contact with Andre Heimgartner resulted in a 15-second penalty. He served that in his pit stop and fell rearwards, eventually finishing 14th.
Scott McLaughlin, Shell V-Power Racing Team (Race 25 Qual 2nd, Finish 14th; Race 26 Qual 1st, Finish 3rd; Race 27 Qual 1st, Finish 1st)
Championship leader Scott McLaughlin was victorious in the third race of the weekend, cruising to the win in a DJR Team Penske one-two.
The 11th win of the season capped off an up-and-down weekend for the IndyCar-bound driver.
After contact with Whincup in the first race shuffled him towards the rear of the field, McLaughlin recovered and was in contention for the race win only to hit Lee Holdsworth and get penalised, finishing 14th.
Andre Heimgartner, Ned Racing (Race 25 Qual 10th, Finish 4th; Race 26 Qual 5th, Finish 2nd; Race 27 Qual 8th, Finish 7th)
Kelly Racing driver Andre Heimgartner was one of the standouts all weekend. He fell shy of the podium in the first race after a mistake cost him a shot at third place while battling Fullwood.
He redeemed himself in the second instance, claiming second place behind van Gisbergen for what was his second podium of the season.
His weekend was highlighted by a three-wide pass including Scott McLaughlin and Chaz Mostert that saw him surge from fourth to second and secure the podium place.
Despite being spun on the opening lap by van Gisbergen in the third instance, Heimgartner managed to recover and improve on his starting position of eighth to seventh.
Chaz Mostert, Mobil 1 Appliances Online Racing (Race 25 Qual 1st, Finish 11th; Race 26 Qual 3rd, Finish 11th; Race 27 Qual 2nd, Finish 16th)
Chaz Mostert proved his one-lap pace throughout the weekend, claiming a pole position, third place, and second place starts across the three races.
His race pace was strong until the point at which his tyres fell off the cliff.
With his tyres worn, he dropped time hand over fist in all three races. He twice finished 11th and ended the weekend in 16th.
Anton De Pasquale, Penrite Racing (Race 25 Qual 6th, Finish 8th; Race 26 Qual 7th, Finish 5th; Race 27 Qual 18th, Finish 4th)
While a podium wasn’t forthcoming for Anton De Pasquale, the Penrite Racing driver was consistent throughout the weekend with finishes of eighth, fifth, and fourth.
De Pasquale made the most of a Top 15 Shootout berth, moving from 15th in the order to sixth for Race 25.
Race 27 saw the biggest improvement, executing an effective undercut to move his way through the field to third before eventually dropping to fourth after Whincup charged through late.
Who impressed you the most? Cast your vote below in this week’s Pirtek Poll.