Will Davison takes shock victory
Erebus Motorsport's Will Davison has claimed a surprise race win in the final heat of the UBET Perth Supersprint, the former Bathurst champ chasing down Red Bull Racing's Craig Lowndes in the dying laps; denying Lowndes of his 100th career win.
An emotional Davison, who looked to have briefly started crying while touring pit-lane post-race, was almost rendered speechless by the result.
"I don't know what to say. [...] A podium would've been incredible. A podium would've been amazing - it's been a dry spell," said an exasperated Davison.
"I just wanted a clean weekend. I knew [Lowndes] was on number 99, and I knew how much he would've wanted it. But I'm thinking 'it's been a while for me and the whole team and Erebus, and Betty'. This is for her, and whole team who've worked so hard.
"I always said it would taste sweeter than ever, to do it with this team. Everything was perfect."
Prodrive Racing Australia's Ford duo Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert had dominated the first half of the race, but a caution on lap 49 of 83 turned the race on its head; with the whole field coming into pit-lane to make their final stops.
The caution favoured those who had reserved their best set of tyres for the run to the flag. This included Mostert, Lowndes, Davison and Kiwi Fabian Coulthard who had started from an agonising 24th position.
With Winterbottom fading quickly (eventually finishing 15th having restarted the race on lap 51 in the lead), Lowndes looked to be the driver to beat; quickly dispatching Mostert for the lead. Davison had been on Lowndes' tail, but had more difficulty in passing the reigning Bathurst 1000 champ. He would eventually pass Mostert for second on lap 65 at the final corner after the pair briefly exchanged minor contact.
By this stage, Lowndes held a lead of over two seconds. After biding his time, Davison started to bite into the margin with six laps remaining - stealing 7 tenths of a second out of Lowndes on lap 77 alone.
By lap 79, Davison had caught Lowndes. The Commodore driver had no answer to a clean pass under brakes at turn six, and the win was sealed for Davison and a wanting Erebus Motorsport squad. He kicked clear to cross the line with plenty of margin, and enough time to commence celebratory skids several corners before the chequered flag.
Fabian Coulthard won the fight for third, the Kiwi on the podium for the second day in a row having passed 16 cars to get there.
Fellow New Zealanders Shane van Gisbergen and Andre Heimgartner starred in the early laps of the race; both drivers carving through the field on soft tyres to make it into the top five by the first pit-stop cycle. But neither car was able to convert the start to a big result, with van Gisbergen's Tekno squad attempting to do the race on three pit-stops and falling out of sequence, and Heimgartner crashing out after contact at turn one with Scott Pye in the final laps.
van Gisbergen finished the race in 14th, four spots ahead of Scott McLaughlin who continues to struggle in 2015. More technical gremlins today preventing him from landing a result.
Reigning series champion Jamie Whincup also failed to secure a good result; finishing the race in just behind McLaughlin in 19th after falling off the circuit in the opening laps and being unable to recover.
Poor results from Whincup and Winterbottom have helped promote Craig Lowndes to the lead of the championship and James Courtney to second. The series now travels to Winton for another Supersprint event, on the 15th-17th of May.