Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard shared the wins at the finish of three torturous sprints at The Bend in South Australia.
McLaughlin took the final victory of the weekend and extended his margin in the Supercars championship to 215 points as his tail-gunner took the round win with the best score over the three races in South Australia.
The two-time champion is looking more and more like taking a hat-trick, although Jamie Whincup minimised some of the earlier damage on the weekend with third place in the finale.
“It’s been a tough weekend. We’ve made too many mistakes,” Whincup admitted.
As McLaughlin completed another of his A-to-B demonstration runs, and Coulthard helped the Shell V-Power squad move back to the lead in the teams’ championship, there was chaos as the Supercars kids went wild in the last race of the weekend.
A first-lap melee dropped Andre Heimgartner well back in the pack, and saw Shane van Gisbergen serving a 15-second penalty at his tyre stop as the villain, as well as taking two cars out of the race with major damage.
“Good start, other people caught up, spinning around. Quite a bit of damage. Capped off a pretty shithouse weekend,” said Mark Winterbottom as he parked his Commodore.
“It was pretty sketchy there. I thought I was going to make through, but then Winterbottom tagged me. I had no idea what happened or why it happened, but we’re parked up,” said Courtney as he stepped out of his Mustang.
Once again there were tyre troubles for many of the runners, including Whincup, that shuffled the order and triggered some torrid racing.
Anton de Pasquale stormed past 14 rivals and looked for a long time like the final podium finisher, until his Dunlop tyres sagged and a surging Whincup was able to get past – but not without tagging his opponent.
Scott Pye also raced through the field and Heimgartner, who dropped all the way to 17th, made it back to seventh at the finishing flag.
McLaughlin was happy with his win, but also complimented Coulthard.
“He hasn’t forgotten how to drive,” he said.
“For us, the car is fantastic to drive. I think track position helps, being able to get off the start helps a lot. It was important to get the start, and thankfully we did.”
Coulthard has been missing from action for much of the 2020 series but looks to have found some form, and confidence, at the right time for the championship.
“It’s been a solid weekend for our side of the garage. Any time you can get a 1-2 in this category is a solid weekend,” he said.
De Pasquale was as happy as anyone with his fourth, but Pye said van Gisbergen stopped his advance as he ran as long as possible before his penalty stop.
“Our thing is actually really good. Fourth from 18th is pretty good. It was a good race. From where we were, we played it alright,” said De Pasquale.
“I think fourth was on the cards today, comfortably. We passed seven cars. The thing was pretty speedy,” said Pye.
Teams have learned plenty of lessons from the first weekend at The Bend, especially about managing their Dunlop rubber, but the Supercars deck will be shuffled again for the second meeting at The Bend next weekend as the races will be run on the short-circuit layout at the Adelaide track.
Race 27: 24 laps
|4||Anton De Pasquale|
|4||Shane van Gisbergen||1555|