Darwin Supercars: Whincup triumphs in tense finale

Jamie Whincup held off Scott McLaughlin in a tense final race at Hidden Valley to win both the race and the Darwin Triple Crown.

Darwin Supercars: Whincup triumphs in tense finale

The pair basically spent the entire race separated by less than a second, McLaughlin the early leader before the positions were reversed during the sole round of mandatory stops. 

Whincup opted to take his service a lap earlier than McLaughlin, the undercut, paired with what looked like a slight delay on McLaughlin's right-rear tyre change, helping the Red Bull Holden come out in front.

There was an undertone of controversy to Whincup's stop, though; he exited his bay right as Fabian Coulthard tried to drive into his, the Penske Ford hitting the brakes to avoid a clash.

That robbed Coulthard of the opportunity to jump Chaz Mostert, which would have given him enough points to clear Whincup for round honours and claim the Triple Crown.

However Triple Eight escaped an in-race penalty, leaving Whincup free to hold off McLaughlin to win the race, and secure the Triple Crown on a countback.

"That was a great battle," said Whincup of the tense contest with McLaughlin. "It reminded me of the old 2017/18 days where we went head-to-head with these blokes. 

"It was just resilience. We just kept chipping away at the car all weekend and made it faster for Race 3. 

"I thought after the penalty yesterday that we were done and dusted for the Triple Crown, but fantastic to have a fantastic day."

McLaughlin added: "It's tough racing the GOAT, he doesn't make many mistakes. Credit to him and his team, great pitstop by them. It was a good battle, I had a lot of fun."

McLaughlin and Whincup ended the weekend separated by 101 points, the same margin they started with this morning.

Shane van Gisbergen finished the race, despite running wide at Turn 1 with a handful of laps to go. Luckily his gap back to the Mostert/Coulthard battle pack was big enough for the Kiwi to hold on to the bottom step of the podium. 

Coulthard, meanwhile, couldn't find a way past Mostert, which left him equal on round points with Whincup and cost him the Triple Crown.

Nick Percat capped off a solid day with sixth, while Mark Winterbottom went for an alternate strategy, running a long first stint, before charging home to seventh on better rubber at the end.

Jack Le Brocq, David Reynolds and Rick Kelly rounded out the Top 10.

Darwin Triple Crown - Race 3 results:

Cla # Driver Car Gap
1 88 Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB  
2 17 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin Ford Mustang GT 2.122
3 97 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 14.356
4 25 Australia Chaz Mostert Holden Commodore ZB 17.259
5 12 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard Ford Mustang GT 17.759
6 8 Australia Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 22.615
7 18 Australia Mark Winterbottom Holden Commodore ZB 22.983
8 55 Australia Jack Le Brocq Ford Mustang GT 23.858
9 9 Australia David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 25.469
10 15 Australia Rick Kelly Ford Mustang GT 26.691
11 6 Australia Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT 28.475
12 5 Australia Lee Holdsworth Ford Mustang GT 29.520
13 35 Australia Garry Jacobson Holden Commodore ZB 29.906
14 34 Australia Jake Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 36.046
15 4 Australia Jack Smith Holden Commodore ZB 39.939
16 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner Ford Mustang GT 40.951
17 44 Australia James Courtney Ford Mustang GT 42.010
18 3 Australia Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB 42.454
19 2 Australia Bryce Fullwood Holden Commodore ZB 42.785
20 14 Australia Todd Hazelwood Holden Commodore ZB 44.627
21 22 New Zealand Chris Pither Holden Commodore ZB 45.728
22 20 Australia Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 47.251
23 99 Australia Anton De Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 1'01.439
24 19 Australia Alex Davison Holden Commodore ZB  
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2020 Supercars Darwin Triple Crown race results

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