Race 21: View From The Couch

Race 21: View From The Couch

Championship leader Scott McLaughlin gets back to what he does best in the final fight for Townsville1 on the Reid Park road circuit.

McLaughlin saves the best until last, in himself and his Dunlop tyres, for a regulation A-to-B win.

Except it’s anything but easy as Cam Waters applies plenty of pressure through the middle stages of the race, pushing on for second spot and resisting a late challenge from Jamie Whincup who completes his weekend with third – and the round win – after a pair of earlier victories.

Once again there is very little damage and no sign of the Safety Car as drivers as teams have less than a week to prepare for the second leg of the Townsville double-header.

“We’ll go away happy. Crazy that we will do it all again in five days time,” says Whincup.

The Red Bull HRT racer manages to chip a chunk of points out of McLaughlin’s series lead, reducing it by 54 points, but knows he must still keep pushing.

“It’s our responsibility to make the championship a tough one. We’ll keep our heads down,” he says.

McLaughlin makes the best of a bad weekend – by his standard – when he qualifies on pole position with his Shell V-Power Mustang and then slides his car into an easy lead on the opening lap.

“It’s a lot nicer up the front here, but we’ve got to make the most of it now,” says McLaughlin before the start.

“We’ve got pretty good tyres for this one. We needed to save our best set for when we had the best chance.”

He makes it look as easy as usual until the pitstops, as Waters gets four tyres to his three and goes on the attack.

“I gave Scott absolutely everything I had but couldn’t get him to make a mistake. I had nothing left. I gave it everything I could,” says Waters, who has now become a podium regular in the Monster Mustang.

Behind the top three, Brad Jones Racing rebounds from another tough – and expensive – weekend as Nick Percat and Todd Hazelwood come home strongly in fourth and fifth.

Shane van Gisbergen again charges towards the end, finishing eighth as Scott Pye picks up nine spots and sixth as David Reynolds fades out of the top 10.

As teams debrief, rebuild and prepare to do it again at Townsville2, McLaughlin has only one objective.

“Our main goal is to stay in front of the 88,” he says.

RACE 21: 39 laps

1Scott McLaughlin
2Cam Waters
3Jamie Whincup
4Nick Percat
5Todd Hazelwood
6Scott Pye
7Anton de Pasquale
8Shane van Gisbergen
9Lee Holdsworth
10Mark Winterbottom

Championship Points

1Scott McLaughlin1556
2Jamie Whincup1433
3Chaz Mostert1173
4Shane van Gisbergen1157
5Cam Waters1157
6Nick Percat1069
7David Reynolds1046
8Mark Winterbottom1024
9Fabian Coulthard1018
10Lee Holdsworth993