The Supercars kids are on their best behaviour through the second of three sprints on the streets of Townsville.
In sharp contrast to the biff battle on Saturday afternoon in far-north Queensland, starting from a massive first-lap pile-up through plenty of other car-to-car contact, the first of two Sunday races is filled with politeness and courtesy.
Even as Shane van Gisbergen storms up to the podium, benefitting from a late stop for four fresh tyres, no-one is prepared to swap paint or panels to defend their spot.
Jamie Whincup is sublime and fault-free on the way to his second winner’s trophy for the weekend, stroking around a track he likes a lot.
“All I’m thinking about it one more to go, and we’re P4 (on the grid) in the next one. We’ll do our best and try to hang in there. We’re in a good position but certainly got to round it off in Race 3,” says Whincup.
Scott McLaughlin, who sees his championship lead trimmed to 109 points despite improving from an ordinary 13th in qualifying through to sixth in the second Townsville dash, is on pole position for the final race and looking forward to an easier time.
“We’ve got a car that can win a race,” McLaughlin says.
But it’s the Red Bull HRT who dominate Race 2, although Chaz Mostert does well to start and finish in second with the WAU Commodore.
“I don’t think we had too much for the Bulls, but it’s good to be up there,” he says.
Whincup is sublime on the streets of Townsville, starting from P1 and making zero mistakes for his 12 win at the track and his 122nd in total.
“Car was fantastic. Good battle with Chaz down into Turn 2 but after that the car was excellent. We were able to go long and had some good tyres through to the end,” says Whincup.
There is a bit of a re-shuffle as James Courtney runs third in the early laps with his Boost Mustang, but then fades on worn tyres to only finish seventh.
Van Gisbergen is the happiest, after a strong run up from sixth to third.
“It was awesome fun. But we still lack so much straight-line for some reason. It’s a bit frustrating,” he says.
Apart from van Gisbergen and McLaughlin, the other big winner in Race 2 is Nick Percat, who benefits from an overnight engine change in his BJR Commodore to run home a strong fifth.
But even as the drivers and cars cool after 39 tough laps, all of the leading contenders are looking forward.
“We’ve got a tough race coming up. We obviously wanted to get a trophy in this race,” says van Gisbergen.
“This afternoon is going to be tough, but we’ll try to do the same and carve through.”
RACE 20: 39 laps
|3||Shane van Gisbergen|
|8||Anton de Pasquale|