Jamie Whincup claims first Supercars win of the year, McLaughlin P4
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Seven-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup has finally broken his 2019 victory drought by winning the opening race of the Ipswich SuperSprint at Queensland Raceway.
Will Davison took second, a memorable first podium for the 23Red Milwaukee Tickford Racing satellite operation. Chaz Mostert claimed third, ahead of Scott McLaughlin in fourth.
Not only is it Whincup's first race win of the season (his last win came at the 2018 Sandown 500), but it's also only the second race win of the year for any Australian driver. Kiwis have dominated the rest of the season, with the wins divvied between McLaughlin, Shane van Gisbergen, and Fabian Coulthard.
“Yeah I’ve been reminded [of the drought], especially the last couple of months, haven’t had a win for a while," said Whincup post-race.
"Fantastic to get the win. Big thanks to the Holden supporters for hanging in there.
"There’s still a bit of a performance deficit but we’re forever chipping away. It’s been while since I’ve been one-two with my mate Will Davison here as well. Big thanks to the team, big thanks to everyone for coming out."
Pit-stops played a significant part in the early phase of the race. McLaughlin lost some time, although it didn’t make a huge impression on his track possession. More adversely affected was Scott Pye, who had to wait in pit-lane for an eternity due to a stubborn and damaged left-rear wheel nut.
It had been a rough start for McLaughlin. After starting from pole, he dropped to third by the end of lap one after a superior start from Whincup and some physical driving from Will Davison.
The Shell V-Power Racing squad elected to bring him in for an early stop in the hopes of gaining with an undercut. And, while there were initial gains that saw him sit second after the pit-cycle, he was eventually caught up to by both Davison and Chaz Mostert.
Davison's move on McLaughlin was particularly spectacular, coming in the form of a surprise dive at turn three from a long way back.
The 2016 Bathurst 1000 winner tried to close down the gap on Whincup, but ended up some two-seconds short. The other driver trying to make use of fresh tyres late in the race, van Gisbergen, ended up fifth; nine tenths off countryman McLaughlin.
Behind the top five, it was a very physical race. Coulthard rebounded from qualifying struggles, a mid-race off, and multiple exchanges of contact to finish 10th. His margin to McLaughlin in the championship standings has now extended to 334 points.
Ahead of him, Cameron Waters, Lee Holdsworth, Nick Percat, and David Reynolds (who lost time in his pit-stop) finished sixth through to ninth.
Andre Heimgartner rounded out the Kiwi contingent to finish 12th. He initially crossed the line in 13th, but benefited from a time penalty for Todd Hazelwood. The Matt Stone Racing driver inherited the penalty late after being deemed to have caused an incident that sent Anton de Pasquale off the road at turn two.
Results, Ipswich SuperSprint Race 19
1. Jamie Whincup
2. Will Davison
3. Chaz Mostert
4. Scott McLaughlin
5. Shane van Gisbergen
6. Cameron Waters
7. Lee Holdsworth
8. Nick Percat
9. David Reynolds
10. Fabian Coulthard
11. James Courtney
12. Andre Heimgartner
13. James Golding
14. Anton de Pasquale
15. Mark Winterbottom
16. Rick Kelly
17. Michael Caruso
18. Simona de Silvestro
19. Todd Hazelwood
20. Garry Jacobson
21. Scott Pye
22. Jack Le Brocq
DNF. Tim Slade
DNF. Macauley Jones