Coulthard leads incredible Kiwi one-two-three podium finish
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Fabian Coulthard led home a historic Kiwi one-two-three podium finish in Sunday's Supercars race at Winton Raceway in rural Victoria.
The Shell V-Power driver [pictured below] made a superb start to leap-frog teammate and championship leader Scott McLaughlin off the line and controlled the race throughout to secure his first race win of the season. Red Bull Holden Racing driver Shane van Gisbergen used good strategy for the third straight race to beat McLaughlin for second.
The all-Kiwi podium was a first in Supercars history, and capped a great day for the New Zealand contingent with Richie Stanaway finally having a little luck in powering to a ninth-place finish, while Nissan's Andre Heimgartner was 11th.
The Nissans of Rick Kelly and Michael Caruso finished fourth and fifth respectively completing a stellar weekend for the Japanese manufacturer following Kelly's win on Saturday.
Coulthard has endured a difficult start to the season but responded brilliantly to record his 10th career race victory.
"Fantastic – I can't thank my guys enough," Coulthard said. "The Shell V-Power car was on rails today and it was a pleasure today.
"One and three [for the team] and an all-Kiwi podium – a critical moment."
Van Gisbergen ran deeper than the other runners with his final pit stop and he once again made the strategy work for him. With a fast car and newer tyres McLaughlin didn't force the issue and Van Gisbergen was able to get by him easily late in the race.
"It was so awesome just pushing hard the whole way – the car was fantastic," Van Gisbergen said. "We had a fantastic weekend with top points and a Kiwi one-two-three for the first time ever."
McLaughlin was left ruining a shocking start – he dropped from first to eighth by the third corner but recovered to bank valuable points.
"I have had some pretty bad ones in the past but I will take my good ones and learn from this one that I stuffed up," he said.
McLaughlin's championship dominance extended considerably over the weekend as most of his major rivals lost significant ground to him – Van Gisbergen aside. The gap back to the 2016 champion is 131 points but behind that third-placed Craig Lowndes is 299 points in arrears of McLaughlin – almost a whole round worth of points.
The series takes a break for four weeks before resuming in the Northern Territory in the middle of June.
- NZ Herald