Scott McLaughlin has scored his third straight Perth win in a canter to extend his Virgin Australia Supercars Championship lead.
McLaughlin left the field in his wake with a comprehensive Saturday victory, his third in succession at the Barbagallo circuit. Mark Winterbottom made a welcome return to the podium with second, with the same strategy putting Shane van Gisbergen on the dais.
Winterbottom and Van Gisbergen employed a strategy to pit lane with his fresh tyres helping them fly through the field. Van Gisbergen passed Tim Slade on the last lap for third.
It gave McLaughlin and extended lead in the overall points by 119 points from Van Gisbergen, a handy gap at this time of the season. David Reynolds dropped to third.
Click image to download pictures from today’s Race 11, Perth SuperSprint
“I was a bit worried there. When I came out of the pit stop there were lapped cars and they were battling, as they are entitled to. It got a bit hairy at one stage,” McLaughlin said.
“At the start we wanted to gap them a little bit and felt our car was strong enough. They went attacking and try to undercut us but I managed to stay out. I knew I had the tyre pace at the end. It was nice to have the gap but they don’t come around often.
“I got a good start which is what I wanted and trucked on. Three in a row now which is nice and it’s great for our Championship.”
Jamie Whincup pitted early to try and make a gap from position 15 on the grid. He worked his way into second as a result but his battle to conserve tyres and stay strong was his main challenge.
But his run for the podium ended with a five second penalty for contact with Chaz Mostert when he spun the young Ford racer at the final turn, putting him back to midfield.
Conversely Winterbottom and Van Gisbergen pitted late, putting them back in the field but with superior rubber to finish the race. It was former Champion Winterbottom and his Ford team’s first podium for the season.
“I am really proud of the team. From where we have been to how the car felt then is light years. We are not driving any differently, it’s all the hard work,” Winterbottom said.
Reynolds had a pit drama which cruelled his chances of pushing the leaders on the short track, costing the Erebus driver valuable Championship points while McLaughlin cleared away. The same happened to Coulthard who had been running second before a slow stop put him down the field.
In the Stadium Super Trucks West Australian Matt Nolan has walked away from a spectacular rollover, soon after McLaughlin claimed his fifth ARMOR ALL Pole Position of the year.
The Pilbara local was one of two rollovers in the American-based Super Truck Series with Gavin Harlien also flipping down the back straight. Remarkably, the American continued racing, but Aussie Nolan was not so fortunate.
Nolan flipped five times on the main straight having missed the jump. He was unharmed and squeezed out of the wreck, walking away without a scratch.
Supercars will have a final practice tomorrow morning at 9:15am local time, before the thrilling three-tier qualifying session begins at 11:20am local time, and the final 200km race of the weekend gets underway at 2:15pm local time.
FOLLOWING TODAY’S RACE 11: PERTH SUPERSPRINT
| 1st – Scott McLaughlin
2nd – Mark Winterbottom
3rd – Shane van Gisbergen
| 1st – Scott McLaughlin (1097 points)
2nd – Shane van Gisbergen (978 points)
3rd – David Reynolds (941 points)