Coulthard returns to top of the podium with victory in Winton

Coulthard celebrates
Coulthard celebrates

Fabian Coulthard broke an eight-month drought in an all Kiwi finish with his first win of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship season in Winton.

Coulthard outlasted a fast finishing Shane van Gisbergen and his Shell V-Power Racing teammate Scott McLaughlin in regional Victoria to record his first win since August last year.

It has been a frustrating year for Coulthard, who was third in last year’s Championship having led in the first part of last year, who now sits seventh in the points in 2018.

He built a big lead through race strategy, a fast car and managing the gap to a comfortable win, becoming the eighth different winner in 14 races for the season.

Coulthard made the most of a terrible start by McLaughlin from ARMOR ALL Pole Position and was not headed, leading from flag to flag in the 67-lap race.

“It was fantastic and I can’t thank my guys enough," Coulthard said. “The car was on rails today and a pleasure to drive. I am not sure what happened to Scotty.

“It’s unfortunate we couldn’t have the two Shell cars going through the first corner 1-2. That wasn’t be but a one and three plus an all Kiwi podium is awesome. Choice as hey."

McLaughlin’s incredible run of pole positions continued with a repeat of the front row lockout he and Coulthard secured yesterday. It moved McLaughlin past Allan Moffat on the all-time list with the 40th of his Supercars career.

But his trouble to convert continued when he all but stalled on the grid, allowing six cars past him by the third corner, dropping back to eighth while Coulthard pounced ahead. Nissan’s Rick Kelly and Michael Caruso pushed into second and third.

“I have had pretty bad ones in the past but I will take my good ones and learn from this one that I stuffed up today. Congratulations to Fabian, he did an awesome job," McLaughlin said.

Coulthard leads Penske teammate McLaughlin
Coulthard leads Penske teammate McLaughlin

As the strategies kicked in McLaughlin managed to maneuver his way back into the race and by his last stop had jumped Kelly and Caruso. Coulthard stayed out longer before his third and final stop, re-joining with his lead intact.

In a largely uneventful race Van Gisbergen was the prime mover and began catching Coulthard early in the last stint before giving the chase away in the closing laps.

“I haven’t driven that hard in a long time, the car was fantastic," Van Gisbergen said. “And a Kiwi 1-2-3 for the first time, how good is that."

McLaughlin now leads Van Gisbergen by 131 points in the Championship from Craig Lowndes.

Yesterday’s winner Kelly was fourth in the Altima with his team-mate Caruso fifth as the Nissan team continues their run of great form, with Boost Mobile Racing’s Scott Pye sixth.

Supercars teams will now have an opportunity to regroup as they prepare for the seventh round the Championship, the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown which will run from 15-17 June.

COULTHARD QUOTE:
I’m so fortunate to drive such a fantastic car – it was on rails today, and that’s down to the team giving me such an awesome car. It all came down to the start, I got a great one and lead into turn one and was able to maintain and manage it from there. It’s a confidence builder being back here, being in the number one spot. It’s good for everyone in the team. The relationship with my engineer Mark Fenning is new, I think it’s his first win in Supercars as well, so there’s been a few milestones today. It’s so good to be back here.

Results

POS NO. DRIVER TEAM TIME
1 12 Coulthard T. D'Alberto Shell V-Power Racing Team 1:32:22.978
2 97 Van Gisbergen P. Dumbrell, E. Bamber Red Bull Holden Racing Australia +11.028
3 17 McLaughlin T. D'Alberto Shell V-Power Racing Team +18.918
4 15 R. Kelly A. Russell, G. Jacobson Nissan Motorsport +25.422
5 23 Caruso D. Fiore, A. Rullo Nissan Nismo +26.483
6 2 S. Pye J. Perkins, W. Luff Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing +27.952
7 14 Slade M. Jones, Walsh Brad Jones Racing +28.356
8 1 Whincup P. Dumbrell, E. Bamber Red Bull Holden Racing Australia +29.687
9 56 R. Stanaway S. Owen Monster Energy Racing +33.000
10 55 Mostert D. Canto, Moffat Supercheap Auto Racing +35.062
11 7 Heimgartner A. Russell, G. Jacobson Nissan Motorsport +35.590
12 888 Lowndes S. Richards Team Vortex +41.555
13 230 Davison A. Davison Milwaukee Racing +41.841
14 8 Percat M. Jones, Walsh Brad Jones Racing +43.458
15 9 Reynolds W. Brown, L. Youlden Erebus Motorsport +50.590
16 99 A. de Pasquale W. Brown, L. Youlden Erebus Motorsport +53.520
17 19 J. Le Brocq G. Murphy TEKNO Woodstock Racing +54.130
18 21 Blanchard A. Marjoram CoolDrive Racing +55.874
19 25 Courtney J. Perkins, W. Luff Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing +57.020
20 5 Winterbottom D. Canto, Moffat The Bottle-O Racing Team +57.276
21 400 Holdsworth M. Brabham Preston Hire Racing +57.520
22 33 Tander R. Muscat, C. Pither Wilson Security Racing GRM +58.288
23 78 S. De Silvestro D. Fiore, A. Rullo Nissan Nismo +1:01.821
24 35 T. Hazelwood B. Fullwood Bigmate Racing +1:17.940
25 34 J. Golding R. Muscat, C. Pither Wilson Security Racing GRM +1:18.334
26 6 C. Waters D. Russell Monster Energy Racing +5 Laps

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

1.

Scott McLaughlin

1487

2.

Shane Van Gisbergen

1356

3.

Craig Lowndes

1188

4.

David Reynolds

1169

5.

Jamie Whincup

1123

6.

Scott Pye

1114

7.

Fabian Coulthard

1079

8.

Rick Kelly

1003

9.

James Courtney

996

10.

Tim Slade

992

TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

1.

Shell V-Power Racing Team

2566

2.

Triple Eight Race Engineering (Whincup/SVG)

2479

3.

Walkinshaw Andretti United

2110

4.

Brad Jones Racing

1884

5.

Tickford Racing (Mostert/Winterbottom)

1876

6.

Erebus Motorsport

1789

7.

Nissan Motorsport (Kelly/Heimgartner)

1665

8.

NISMO (Caruso/De Silvestro)

1340

9.

Garry Rogers Motorsport

1286

10.

Triple Eight Race Engineering (Lowndes)

1188

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