Ford young gun Scott McLaughlin has signalled a changing of the guard following his third straight victory this afternoon, but a dramatic ending to James Courtney’s afternoon will be a major talking point following the opening race of the 2017 Winton SuperSprint.
Courtney’s Mobil 1 HSV Racing Team Principal, Adrian Burgess, was sensationally dumped by the Walkinshaw Team last week after a string of poor results.
Today Courtney was on good pace in the closing stages before fellow Holden driver Nick Percat nudged the 2010 Supercars champion as he made a passing move for tenth position. The collision sent Courtney skidding off the Winton track and into the sand, continuing his team’s poor start to 2017. He was visibly dejected following the incident.
“I’m Gutted. We’ve had a hell of a time here with everything that’s been going on and to have that happen, it’s another kick in the face,” Courtney said post-race.
“But we’ll be right, we’ll regroup. We do it because we love it, at points, so hopefully the love comes back.”
Meantime, McLaughlin recorded his third straight race victory after a perfect run from pole position.
It was Ford’s sixth successive race victory with McLaughlin winning in front of Holden ace Jamie Whincup and current championship leader Fabian Coulthard. Defending Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen, crossed the line in eighth position.
After starting from second, Chaz Mostert’s race ended in just the 13th lap after his Supercheap Auto Ford Falcon experienced transmission failure.
The result means McLaughlin leapfrogs both Whincup and van Gisbergen into second position on the championship points ladder, now just ten points behind his Shell V-Power Racing teammate Coulthard. Whincup stays in third while van Gisbergen drops from second to fourth. Mostert remains in fifth.
“We have to keep on our toes,” McLaughlin said.
“It will be a big fight all the way and we’re just excited. It’s pretty cool I have won two in a row but never three so it’s pretty special.”
Whincup said he’s confident a maiden win for 2017 is around the corner despite the current dominance of McLaughlin and Coulthard.
“We maximised our qualifying, maximised the start, our strategy and got the most points we could today but we certainly need more speed to go one better,” Whincup said.
Qualifying for tomorrow’s 200km race will begin at 11:00am held tomorrow morning with the second and final SuperSprint to begin at 1:45pm.
Every practice, qualifying and race, as well as support categories, from the Winton SuperSprint will be broadcast live, ad-break free on Fox Sports 506 today and tomorrow.