Ford has ended Holden’s dominance in Tasmania with Fabian Coulthard recording an historic victory at Symmons Plains raceway this afternoon.
Coulthard and his fellow Shell V-Power Racing Team driver Scott McLaughlin topped the podium after claiming line honours on a damp track that saw a number of drivers slip out of contention again today following a weekend of rain in northern Tasmania.
Eleven-time race winner of the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint Jamie Whincup recorded his first podium finish of the year finishing third.
Coulthard said it was great to get the team’s first Championship win of the year, after both he and McLaughlin finished runners up to Shane van Gisbergen at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide before dominating the non-Championship races at the Australian Grand Prix.
“Yeah its great not only for me but for the 1-2 finish,” Coulthard said.
“Scotty and I finished at the front but the team are the ones that do that hard work in the background so wrapped for the whole team.
“We just keep improving our car week-in and week-out and we just focus on what we are doing and hopefully the results speak for themselves.”
Whincup started from ARMOR ALL Pole Position and had the early speed. Jumping out in front of McLaughlin before the safety car was called after veteran Jason Bright went into the fence on turn seven in just his fifth lap of the race.
When the race got back underway Whincup and McLaughlin went door-to-door in a thrilling high-speed tussle before McLaughlin squeezed past the all-time greatest race winner in Tasmania to move into second.
Both drivers said it was exhilarating having a duel at speeds in excess of 240km/h on the back straight.
“As per usual Jamie and I have awesome battles,” McLaughlin said.
“I got up the inside of him at the hairpin and I was going to be on the wet-side of him for the next corner so just held it flat round the kink and it was sketchy.
“It was tight and we were banging doors but that’s what it’s all about and it was good. I knew it was a big pass cause we were pretty similar on fuel and I needed to get it done.”
Whincup said he hopes fans are enjoying the close Holden vs Ford battle that is playing out like what they saw today.
“That’s what it’s all about that side by side no one giving an inch but no one taking anyone else out,” Whincup said,
“Two-hundred and fifty kays [kilometres per hour] bit of dampness on the outside I didn’t know what was going to happen actually.
“I got fixed up a little bit at the Grand Prix as well so maybe I’ve got to step it up and it’s a bit of dog eat dog out there at the moment which isn’t a bad thing.”
Current series leader Shane van Gisbergen was forced to spend an extra 15 seconds’ penalty after a collision spun Todd Kelly at the top of the hill on Symmons Plains Raceway, bumping his finishing time down to ninth overall.
Chaz Mostert jumped into the lead and stayed there for a large part of the race before he lost control of his Falcon in the 52nd lap, dropping from first to seventh on one corner and ending his chances of claiming his maiden win in Tasmania.
It ended a tough weekend for the 2014 Bathurst winner who also led yesterday’s race before a mistake gave van Gisbergen the lead before the 12-car incident. While van Gisbergen’s win in race one will stand, yesterday’s opener was declared a non-Championship points race by Stewards last night.
2016 champion in Tasmania, Will Davison spent last night in hospital and close-friend Whincup says he has a long recovery ahead of him following yesterday’s high-speed crash that left Davison badly winded with lower back pain.
“He was able to get in and out of the car but he’s still not walking properly so it’s going to take some time for him to recover from this one,” Whincup said.
Coulthard could’ve leaped into the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship points lead with his win today but will head to Phillip Island in second position, after accepting a 35-point penalty for playing a role in yesterday’s multi-million dollar 12-car crash, now labelled one of the worst in Supercars history.
The Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint was watched by 52,011 fans over three days of action-packed racing action.
Coulthard and McLaughlin’s one-two finish is the first Championship win for the new Shell V-Power Racing Team following their dominant victories in the non-championship round at the Australian Grand Prix.
It is the first time Ford has won in Tasmania since 2012 with Holden drivers claiming the previous 13 victories at Symmons Plains.
Teams will now have just 12 days to prepare for the next round of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, the WD-40 Phillip Island 500 from 21-23 April.