Commanding Kiwi Mustang 1–2 for Scott McLaughlin, Fabian Coulthard at Winton
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Scott McLaughlin has once again topped the Supercars podium, after winning the second race of the Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint over teammate Fabian Coulthard and Red Bull's Jamie Whincup. The result is McLaughlin's 10th of the season thus far, further stamping his authority on what's so far been one of the most dominant campaigns in Supercars history.
The road to the chequered flag for McLaughlin was much simpler than yesterday's chaotic race. From pole, he won the race to turn one from Coulthard, David Reynolds, and Whincup. And from there both Shell V-Power Ford Mustangs controlled proceedings, with McLaughlin leading every lap apart from those during the pit cycle. In the end he won by just under a second, with his championship lead now up to 244 points.
Among the race's other big performances was Chris Pither. After a lingering neck injury surfaced yesterday, Garry Rogers Motorsport elected to swap Richie Stanaway with co-driver Pither today. Starting from last, Pither kept his nose clean before fending off a raft of fresh-tyre stoppers in the run to the finish. In the end, he finished 14th.
The main casualty of the race was Chaz Mostert. The Supercheap Auto Mustang pilot had a wretched race. After starting towards the front, he stumbled off the track at turn six. He then had an off on the following lap, before incurring a time penalty later on after an incident with James Courtney. Thankfully for the 2014 Bathurst 1000 winner, a late strategy call helped him salvage a top 10.
Most of the race was relatively straightforward; the Penske Mustang Pair dropping the field with Whincup and Reynolds squabbling with each other for the last step of the podium. But, all was thrown into doubt with the addition of a late safety car for the stationary car of Will Davison (hobbled by a transaxle failure). This resulted in a six-lap dash to the end of the race; McLaughlin, Coulthard, Whincup, and Reynolds leading Lee Holdsworth, Cameron Waters, Shane van Gisbergen, and Scott Pye.
A handful of cars had elected to make another pit-stop for fresh tyres. The leading one of them was Nick Percat, who sacrificed fifth place to drop down to 12th with much more grip on his side.
What followed were a busy sequence of laps. At the front it was business as usual for the top five, but all eyes were tracking Percat's progress. By the end of the first lap of action he was up to 10th, and by the end of the next he was ninth. He was making progress, but it was evident that the 2011 Bathurst 1000 winner's progress wasn't going to threaten those in the lead.
In the end, McLaughlin and Coulthard took first and second without much bother. It's the sixth 1–2 finish the pairing have shared — a stark contrast to the circumstances of Saturday's race. Whincup, Reynolds, and Holdsworth completed the top five.
Percat ended up finishing ninth, behind Waters, van Gisbergen, and Pye. A sturdy defense from Pye followed by a fierce attack from behind by rebounding Supercheap driver Mostert was Percat's downfall. Behind them, Andre Heimgartner and Chris Pither rounded out the Kiwi contingent, finishing 11th and an impressive 14th respectively.
The series now moves to Hidden Valley, Darwin, for round seven of the season.
Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint, race two
1. Scott McLaughlin
2. Fabian Coulthard
3. Jamie Whincup
4. David Reynolds
5. Lee Holdsworth
6. Cameron Waters
7. Shane van Gisbergen
8. Scott Pye
9. Nick Percat
10. Chaz Mostert
11. Andre Heimgartner
12. Tim Slade
13. James Courtney
14. Chris Pither
15. Todd Hazelwood
16. Macauley Jones
17. Anton de Pasquale
18. Garry Jacobson
19. James Golding
20. Jack LeBrocq
21. Jack Smith
22. Mark Winterbottom
23. Simona de Silvestro
DNF. Will Davison
DNF. Rick Kelly
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