Newcastle Supercars: McLaughlin wins Race 1, disaster for Whincup

Scott McLaughlin surged to the lead of the Supercars standings with a victory in the penultimate race of the season at Newcastle, while Jamie Whincup’s title hopes took a big blow through contact on lap 1.

McLaughlin got away cleanly from pole position, but there was drama further down the field. Shane van Gisbergen briefly lost third place to Michael Caruso, but dived down the inside of the Australian at Turn 2 to retake the spot

Van Gisbergen’s move opened the door for teammate Whincup, who had only qualified fifth for the race. The six-time Supercars champion was able to get his nose ahead of Caruso, but the two drivers made contact as they exited the corner.

While the #23 Nissan driver escaped the incident without significant damage to the car, Whincup’s Red Bull Holden suffered from a broken steering wheel, forcing him to limp back to the pits.

Meanwhile, another major incident took place on the very same lap, with Dale Wood, Jack Perkins, Jason Bright and Tim Blanchard all involved in a four-driver pile-up.

The safety car was immediately brought out, reducing the pain for Whincup who was set for lengthy repairs in the garage. He eventually spent 13 laps in the pits, emerging at the back of the pack in 24th.

At the front of the field, Tim Slade and Craig Lowndes took over the leading two spots, being the only frontrunners not to stop under SC. Van Gisbergen slotted in in third position after getting the jump on McLaughlin.

The status quo remained after the second SC - deployed on lap 34 after Cameron McConville ended up in the barrier due to contact with James Courtney - with changes only beginning from the third round of pitstops.

David Reynolds claimed the effective lead of the race by undercutting his rivals, while McLaughlin got the jump on van Gisbergen by pitting two laps later than the Kiwi.

With race-long rival van Gisbergen behind, McLaughlin started hammering down Reynolds for overall honours. On lap 71, the latter made a costly mistake at the hairpin, allowing McLaughlin to move up and take the lead.

Immediately afterwards James Moffat was pushed into the barriers by Mark Winterbottom, bringing out the third safety car of the race.

This set-up a time-limited showdown till the chequered flag, with McLaughlin nailing the restart to prevent any chances of an attack into turn 1.

However, Reynolds wasn’t in an equally luxurious position and soon came under pressure from van Gisbergen. The Triple Eight driver lunged downside the inside of Reynolds, launching the Australian into the tyre barriers.

Both drivers were able to continue the race, but lost several positions over the following few laps due to the momentum lost in the incident. Van Gisbergen was also handed a 15-second time penalty, dropping him further down the field.

The Reynolds-Van Gisbergen crash elevated Fabian Coulthard to second spot, securing Penske Ford a one-two finish as McLaughlin claimed a 2.4s victory to inch closer to his maiden Supercars title.

Slade, who didn’t pit during the first safety car, finished third, securing his first podium since the Surfers Paradise round.

Lee Holdsworth finished fourth after starting down in 18th position, while Reynolds was eventually classified sixth after the aforementioned contact with van Gisbergen.

Chaz Mostert and Scott Pye finished a second apart in sixth and seventh places respectively, while Nick Percat and Alex Davison were classified eighth and ninth, separated by just four tenths of a second. Rick Kelly completed the top 10.

Van Gisbergen was eventually classified 16th in the timesheets after taking his penalty into account, while Whincup would up 21st after his lap 1 troubles.

The six-time Supercars champion has fallen 78 points behind McLaughlin in the standings, with 150 on offer in the final race on Sunday.

Race 1 Results: 

1 17 new_zealand Scott McLaughlin  Ford Falcon FG-X 91  
2 12 new_zealand Fabian Coulthard  Ford Falcon FG/X 91 2.4430
3 14 australia Tim Slade  Holden Commodore VF 91 3.5060
4 18 australia Lee Holdsworth  Holden Commodore VF 91 4.1874
5 9 australia David Reynolds  Holden Commodore VF 91 10.9000
6 55 australia Chaz Mostert  Ford Falcon FG-X 91 11.8228
7 2 australia Scott Pye  Holden Commodore VF 91 12.9853
8 8 australia Nick Percat  Holden Commodore VF 91 13.8657
9 19 australia Will Davison  Holden Commodore VF 91 14.3288
10 15 australia Rick Kelly  Nissan Altima 91 15.6008
11 33 australia Garth Tander  Holden Commodore VF 91 17.5093
12 21 australia Tim Blanchard  Holden Commodore VF 91 18.1966
13 6 australia Cameron Waters  Ford Falcon FG-X 91 18.6987
14 23 australia Michael Caruso  Nissan Altima 91 19.0794
15 7 australia Todd Kelly  Nissan Altima 91 21.3520
16 97 new_zealand Shane van Gisbergen  Holden Commodore VF 91 24.4358
17 5 australia Mark Winterbottom  Ford Falcon FG-X 89 2 laps
18 99 australia Dale Wood  Holden Commodore VF 89 2 laps
19 22 australia James Courtney  Holden Commodore VF 88 3 laps
20 78 switzerland Simona de Silvestro  Nissan Altima 83 8 laps
21 88 australia Jamie Whincup  Holden Commodore VF 78 13 laps
  888 australia Craig Lowndes  Holden Commodore VF 62  
  34 australia James Moffat  Holden Commodore VF 54  
  3 australia Aaren Russell  Holden Commodore VF 31  
  56 australia Jason Bright  Ford Falcon FG-X 1  
  62 australia Taz Douglas  Holden Commodore VF 1  


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About this article
Series Supercars
Event Newcastle
Track Streets of Newcastle
Drivers Scott McLaughlin
Article type Race report