Scott McLaughlin romps to Perth victory, extends Supercars points lead
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Another night race, and another Supercars Championship win for Shell V-Power Racing. The win this time went to Scott McLaughlin, who led home an invigorated Jamie Whincup, with Monster Energy Racing's Cameron Waters completing the podium finishers.
With Fabian Coulthard finishing fourth, first and second in the points standings didn't change. But, it's all change behind — an engine drama costing Chaz Mostert a positive result, and dropping him to fifth in the standings behind Shane van Gisbergen and David Reynolds.
“Stoked man. First night win, hope the fans enjoyed it here in Perth," said McLaughlin.
"Shell V-Power Racing gave us an awesome car, best way to respond. I made another balls up there [at the start]. So I’ve got to look at it. The start was good, the light was so much faster today — I’ve got to work on myself."
The opening stanza of the race was relatively conventional, apart from who held the lead. Jamie Whincup won the battle off the start, leading McLaughlin, Chaz Mostert, Cameron Waters, Andre Heimgartner, Coulthard, and Shane van Gisbergen.
An earlier stop and superior pace saw McLaughlin round up Whincup during the opening pit cycle. Red Bull, recognising that the series leader had better pace on his side, figured that better tyre condition would be the only way to stay in the game.
But, a lap 50 safety car put paid to any notion of split strategies among the front-runners.
It was prompted by a clash between Scott Pye and Heimgartner. The Kiwi Nissan ace had enjoyed a positive start to the race, which included a stellar pass at turn one on Anton de Pasquale. While sitting in the top five, an opportunistic move at the last corner saw Pye and Heimgartner spin.
Both cars incurred suspension damage and punctures, with Pye's car rendered immobile. A safety car was subsequently called, and most of the field peeled into the lane to make their second stop — effectively equalising everyone and putting them all on the same strategy.
From there, McLaughlin was untouchable. He eventually took the win over Whincup by 1.9 seconds. Waters, Coulthard, and van Gisbergen completed the top five.
Behind the lead group the race to the flag wasn't without incident. The safety car restart and subsequent few laps were filled with panel-rubbing midfield battles; namely a difficult few laps for Nissan pilot Rick Kelly.
The Castrol-backed driver had a clash on the restart with van Gisbergen (who had lost spots in the pit cycle after queuing behind Whincup), which sent Kelly towards the infield and almost into the wall.
Van Gisbergen ended up pushing forwards to fifth, heading both Erebus Motorsport Penrite Commodores (Reynolds leading de Pasquale), Will Davison, Lee Holdsworth, and Nick Percat in 10th. Richie Stanaway and Heimgartner completed the the Kiwi contingent in 21st and 23rd after races dogged with issues.
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship now heads to Winton for round six of the season on May 25–26.
Results — PIRTEK Perth SuperNight, Race 12
1. Scott McLaughlin
2. Jamie Whincup
3. Cameron Waters
4. Fabian Coulthard
5. Shane van Gisbergen
6. David Reynolds
7. Anton de Pasquale
8. Will Davison
9. Lee Holdsworth
10. Nick Percat
11. Tim Slade
12. Simona De Silvestro
13. James Golding
14. Todd Hazelwood
15. Mark Winterbottom
16. James Courtney
17. Macauley Jones
18. Tim Blanchard
19. Garry Jacobson
20. Rick Kelly
21. Richie Stanaway
22. Jack LeBrocq
23. Andre Heimgartner
DNF. Scott Pye
DNF. Chaz Mostert