Van Gisbergen wins Newcastle opener as Whincup throws away Red Bull one-two

Cars lineup for start
Cars lineup for start

Shane van Gisbergen won today’s race but Shell V-Power Ford has one hand on the coveted Team’s Trophy following the results of today’s opening race at the Coates Hire Newcastle 500.

Van Gisbergen beat Scott McLaughlin by more than 10 seconds, having just held off the #17 in the run to the first corner, and never looked like losing from there.

McLaughlin’s Ford teammate Fabian Coulthard finished third meaning the Shell outfit extended their Championship lead to 143 points with just tomorrow’s final race of the year remaining to decide the Teams title.

Things could’ve been very different for Red Bull when they looked to lead home a Red Bull Holden Racing Team one-two before a late-race Jamie Whincup error.

The seven-time champion ran off at Turn 1 on lap 75 and was forced to three-point turn his way out of the escape road, causing him to plummet to seventh, which would later become eighth.

Whincup muscles ahead at first chicane
Whincup muscles ahead at first chicane

His costly error sparked a 66-point turnaround in the teams’ championship battle as Shell V-Power were gifted a double podium.

Despite Whincup’s error souring Red Bull’s day, van Gisbergen enjoyed a fifth win of 2019 to officially clinch second in the drivers’ championship.

“Awesome day for us, shame about Jamie making a mistake there, that would've been great team points," van Gisbergen said.

“Thanks to the guys, the car was awesome. I had a cool start, good battle and then forced our way through, so pretty cool.

“Thanks to Shippy [engineer Grant McPherson for] tuning that up in qualifying, that set us up for the win, because you simply just can't pass here.

“Caught up in the middle stint and then you just get stuck behind. Great strategy to get us the win, that was all a team effort."

The Shell Fords of McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard didn’t quite have the pace to outright challenge the Red Bulls but drove smart races to second and third.

“It's tough around here, it's quite hard work," McLaughlin said.

“Great job for everyone at Shell V-Power Racing, two and three, obviously Jamie made a mistake there and gifted us a double podium, but I'm sure they'll come back strong tomorrow.

“Overall, a great team result."

From left, McLaughlin, van Gisbergen and Coulthard
From left, McLaughlin, van Gisbergen and Coulthard

For Coulthard, it marked his first podium since Townsville, spelling the end of a tough run.

“Timing is perfect. We were gifted a little bit, Jamie [Whincup] going down the escape road, it's a pretty rare mistake from him, but we'll take it," he said.

“We want to win that teams’ [championship] pretty bad and we'll do what we can to do that.

“I said at the start of the race I was happy with the car. The middle stint is probably what set it up for us.

“I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

In a relatively straightforward race that ran without a Safety Car, Scott Pye starred for Walkinshaw Andretti United to make up 18 places on his way to sixth.

With van Gisbergen holding a four-second buffer and on fresher rubber, the scene was set for Sandown redemption after the #97 driver had suffered suspension dramas when victory looked all but assured.

The Ford powerhouse subsequently extended their advantage to 143 points heading into the last race of the season, where a maximum of 288 points will be available.

Between the Shell Fords and Whincup were David Reynolds, Cameron Waters, Scott Pye and James Courtney.

Pye drove a stellar race from 24th to sixth, elbowing his way past Courtney, Whincup and ninth-place finisher Tim Slade with a series of bold moves in the last 10 laps.

The final day of the season will start with an 11:20am ARMOR ALL Qualifying session, before a Top 10 Shootout and another 250km race.

Race Results

1 97 Van Gisbergen Red Bull Holden Racing Team +0.000s 150
2 17 McLaughlin Shell V-Power Racing Team +10.527 138
3 12 Coulthard Shell V-Power Racing Team +12.830 129
4 9 Reynolds Penrite Racing +15.324 120
5 6 C. Waters Monster Energy Racing Team +22.958 111
6 2 S. Pye Mobil 1 Racing +23.718 102
7 22 Courtney Mobil 1 Racing +29.651 96
8 88 Whincup Red Bull Holden Racing Team +29.919 90
9 14 Slade Freightliner Racing +30.653 84
10 18 Winterbottom Irwin Racing +35.379 78
11 55 Mostert Supercheap Auto Racing +41.404 72
12 5 Holdsworth The Bottle-O Racing Team +49.549 69
13 15 R. Kelly Castrol Racing +58.515 66
14 8 Percat Timken Racing +1:00.942 63
15 23 Davison Milwaukee Racing +1:02.616 60
16 33 R. Stanaway Boost Mobile Racing +1:10.639 57
17 21 M. Jones Team CoolDrive +1:10.753 54
18 35 T. Hazelwood Bigmate Racing +1 Lap 51
19 78 S. De Silvestro Team Harvey Norman +1 Lap 48
20 3 G. Jacobson Racing +1 Lap 45
21 7 Heimgartner Plus Fitness Racing +1 Lap 42
22 34 J. Golding Boost Mobile Racing +1 Lap 39
23 99 A. de Pasquale Penrite Racing +4 Laps 36
NC 19 J. Le Brocq Truck Assist TEKNO Racing +93 Laps 0

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