Kiwi Mustang 1–2: Scott McLaughlin cruises to Melbourne win
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Ford Mustangs have locked out the top five finishing positions at the opening race of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 Supercars Championship event at Albert Park, Melbourne.
After starting from pole, McLaughlin dominated most of the race from the front — shadowed by Coulthard and Cameron Waters. After a largely untroubled race, he claimed his third win on the trot by six tenths of a second, with second and third unchanged over the course of the 25-lap race.
"The car was great, but my thoughts go out to New Zealand," said McLaughlin, in reference to today's mass shooting in Christchurch.
"Christchurch, my home town ... they're all suffering. So my heart goes out to you guys."
The driver to watch towards the flying finish was Red Bull's Shane van Gisbergen. He made his pit-stop much later than the rest of his rivals, meaning he would charge to the flag in a much more energetic fashion than the likes of McLaughlin, Coulthard, and co.
Unfortunately for van Gisbergen though, the late stop strategy didn't come off. After rejoining the circuit in sixth, he looked set to finish where he had spent most of the race — fourth — only for a late mechanical failure to deny him of a finish.
Better progress was made by Supercheap Auto Racing Mustang driver Chaz Mostert. Starting buried in the pack in 22nd, he carved through the pack with a series of incredible moves. And, with van Gisbergen's retirement, he shuffled up to fifth behind Will Davison and ahead of Tim Slade.
Behind Slade, the tight battle to watch in the final laps was for seventh between James Courtney, Jamie Whincup, Lee Holdsworth, and both Erebus Motorsport entries. But although they spent the closing minutes nose-to-tail, there were no other changes in the order.
Andre Heimgartner and Richie Stanaway completed the Kiwi contingent, finishing 15th and 18th respectively.
There are three more Supercars races at the Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend, with McLaughlin and Mostert sharing the pole positions.
1. Scott McLaughlin
2. Fabian Coulthard
3. Cameron Waters
4. Will Davison
5. Chaz Mostert
6. Tim Slade
7. James Courtney
8. Jamie Whincup
9. Lee Holdsworth
10. David Reynolds
11. Anton de Pasquale
12. Mark Winterbottom
13. Scott Pye
14. Nick Percat
15. Andre Heimgartner
16. Rick Kelly
17. James Golding
18. Richie Stanaway
19. Simona De Silvestro
20. Macauley Jones
21. Jack LeBrocq
22. Garry Jacobson
23. Todd Hazelwood
24. Shane van Gisbergen (DNF)