Tenth win of the season for Scott McLaughlin in Winton sweep
Scott McLaughlin has continued his near perfect run in 2019 after taking his tenth Supercars Championship win for the season today at the Winton SuperSprint.
Beating his personal record for wins in a season, the DJR Team Penske driver’s tenth win came in the 14th race of the year, cementing the defending series champion’s position as being the in-form man of the championship.
Despite a late race safety car, McLaughlin still came home with a healthy lead to his team-mate Fabian Coulthard after the duo locked out the front row in qualifying.
Starting behind them on the grid, David Reynolds for Erebus Motorsport and Jamie Whincup from Triple Eight Race Engineering were eager to get amongst the two leading Mustangs at the start of the race.
An even jump off the line in the first phase of the start swung in favour of McLaughlin as he and Coulthard sprinted towards turn one, both having to be wary of the fast-starting David Reynolds behind them.
McLaughlin led the pack through the opening few corners from Coulthard and Reynolds as Whincup was the cork in the bottle to those behind, bunching the field up behind him as they went around the first lap.
From fifth on the road, Tickford Racing’s Chaz Mostert went off at Turn 6 after being too aggressive over the inside kerb, winding up high and dry, subsequently finding himself at the back of the pack by the end of the first tour.
The pack normalised itself in the lead up to the first pit stops with McLaughlin getting a margin over Coulthard who was well clear of Reynolds behind him.
Being pulled in from the cusp of the top ten, van Gisbergen took his first stop on lap 16, returning to the track behind Garry Jacobson’s Nissan and only just in front of Walkinshaw Andretti United’s James Courtney on warm tyres.
Coulthard and Erebus Motorsports’ Anton de Pasquale came in for their stops on the next tour, taking different fuel loads which gave Coulthard a bunch of clear air when he came back onto the track to try and get an undercut on his team-mate.
Whincup was the next to take four tyres and fuel on lap 19, a quick stop seeing him emerge just behind Rick Kelly. On lap 20, McLaughlin stopped from the lead, being stalked by Reynolds on pit entry.
With the leaders cycled through the pits, McLaughlin retained the effective race lead over Coulthard while Reynolds and Whincup found their way past Andre Heimgartner who was suffering after taking an early stop.
Mostert’s horror day continued after a bungled move on Courtney saw the WAU Holden get pushed off the road, earning Mostert a 15 second penalty to add to his woes.
On lap 34 Whincup came in for his second stop, looking for an undercut on Reynolds who he had followed for a majority of the race. Reynolds reacted on the next lap, coming out in front but being passed with Whincup making use of warm tyres.
Coulthard’s second stop came on lap 37, emerging well clear of Whincup but unable to find an answer to McLaughlin out front who was matching his team-mate’s pace despite being on older, worn Dunlop rubber.
Coming in from the lead, McLaughlin’s final stop came on lap 43, getting filled up with fuel until the end of the race and returning to the circuit with a healthy margin to Coulthard in second.
The only safety car of the weekend was called on lap 59 after Will Davison’s car suffered a transaxle failing, leaving the 23Red Racing driver to park up on the inside of Turn 5.
While some down the order came in to pit for new tyres in the hope of making up spots in the sprint to the end, the lead pack stayed out, banking on track position to carry them home.
Racing resumed at the start of lap 62 of 67, McLaughlin opening up a margin to Coulthard as Mostert and Percat on fresh rubber started to pick up a few spots on the first tour. Percat was able to work his way up to ninth but had lost grounds from before the safety car with the tyre change not paying off.
Out front, nothing could stop McLaughlin for taking a clean sweep of race wins for the round, further extending his championship lead ahead of team-mate Coulthard with Whincup finding his way onto the last step of the podium.
Reynolds had to settle for fourth while Lee Holdsworth in the Tickford Racing #5 car finished in position five, heading up Cam Waters, van Gisbergen, Scott Pye, Percat and Mostert in the top ten.