Van Gisbergen wins as McLaughlin runs out of fuel on final corner
|Shane van Gisbergen grabs lead at start|
Scott McLaughlin's hopes of a maiden Virgin Australia Supercars Championship may have come down to a cup of Shell V-Power unleaded after an extraordinary finish in the penultimate race in Newcastle this afternoon.
McLaughlin ran out of fuel on the last corner in an extraordinary finish to the opening race of the Coates Hire Newcastle 500, letting his arch rival Shane van Gisbergen by for victory.
He had led for more than half of the race to that point, and comfortably into the last lap of the second last race. But he slowed unbelievably in the last few corners, just making the finish line.
Now his 14-point Championship lead is just two with one race left.
“We were that close," McLaughlin said. I thought we were good for a while but the calls (over the radio) started to get more intense. Look, she’s on for tomorrow. Whoever finishes ahead of the other wins. Bring it on."
Van Gisbergen proved by racing until the end anything could happen. For the record Erebus Penrite Racing’s David Reynolds finished third.
|Shane van Gisbergen battles Scott McLaughlin|
“What a race, and that sets up tomorrow. Two teams fighting hard. What a day," he said.
“I thought it was all over. At one stage I saw about four Datsuns (Nissans) in front and had no idea how I was going to get past them. I knew they would have to pit. Just epic, epic race.
“It’s winner take all now. It really sets up the battle. I look forward tomorrow, good luck to them but I hope we get it. Can’t wait."
The small buffer may prove critical in the last race of the Coates Hire Newcastle 500, as will qualifying and the final ARMOR ALL Top Ten Shootout of the year tomorrow.
Whincup bolted from the start ahead of Van Gisbergen, creating a headache for the Red Bull team in the event of a safety car which would mean Van Gisbergen would have to stack in the pits. Coulthard did the same to McLaughlin, causing the same problem.
As a result, the seven-time Supercars Champion moved aside for Van Gisbergen at the start of lap two, then Coulthard did the same for McLaughlin at the end of the lap.
Van Gisbergen built a big lead with Whincup acting as his tail gunner before the first stops mixed up the field. The first drama of the day when Whincup was left in the wall after a three-corner dice with Coulthard, which ended in tears and an investigation.
No penalty was the call which effectively put McLaughlin into second after the first stops. The pair stopped within a lap of each other and emerged together.
The race erupted when Coulthard inexplicably smashed into a wall all on his own, forcing a safety and ultimate panic in pit lane. Nick Percat sideswiped a stuck Coulthard, ripping half of his car apart in the process, putting both of them out of the race.
McLaughlin dived into the pits straight away for fuel but behind him chaos ensued behind him, taking Van Gisbergen in the process.
What seemed a miscalculation on fuel meant Van Gisbergen was unable to fully fuel is car to the end, forcing him to come back into the pits a third time under the safety car.
It took Van Gisbergen from the lead and well in control, to eighth.
But persistence paid off as he worked his way back through the field and into second. The rest was history. An entire Championship season now rests on one race.
The entire Championship will go on the line in three sessions tomorrow.
|1||97||Van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing Australia||+0.000s|
|2||17||McLaughlin||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+3.770|
|4||1||Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing Australia||+20.258|
|5||2||S. Pye||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||+22.476|
|6||5||Winterbottom||The Bottle-O Racing Team||+40.477|
|7||25||Courtney||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||+41.752|
|9||15||R. Kelly||Nissan Motorsport||+52.106|
|10||78||S. De Silvestro||Nissan Nismo||+54.163|
|11||99||A. de Pasquale||Erebus Motorsport||+56.542|
|12||18||Holdsworth||Preston Hire Racing||+58.896|
|13||35||T. Hazelwood||Bigmate Racing||+1:03.228|
|14||100||C. Waters||Monster Energy Racing||+1:06.274|
|16||230||Davison||Milwaukee Racing||+1 Lap|
|17||56||R. Stanaway||Tickford Racing||+1 Lap|
|18||14||Slade||Brad Jones Racing||+1 Lap|
|19||19||J. Le Brocq||TEKNO Woodstock Racing||+2 Laps|
|20||34||J. Golding||Wilson Security Racing GRM||+4 Laps|
|21||55||Mostert||Supercheap Auto Racing||+5 Laps|
|22||33||Tander||Wilson Security Racing GRM||+5 Laps|
|23||888||Lowndes||Team Vortex||+7 Laps|
|NC||8||Percat||Brad Jones Racing||+53 Laps|
|NC||12||Coulthard||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+54 Laps|
|NC||21||Blanchard||CoolDrive Racing||+54 Laps|