Townsville Supercars: McLaughlin claims 13th season win
Scott McLaughlin claimed what was ultimately a straightforward win in the opening Supercars encounter on the streets of Townsville.
The DJR Team Penske driver was able to outlast an aggressive strategic move from Jamie Whincup to set up a 13th win of the season, with a pitstop blunder having taken polesitter David Reynolds outs of contention.
McLaughlin's final winning margin was 4.7s over Whincup and Chaz Mostert.
Reynolds led the first part of the race, spending the opening 12 laps with mirrors full of Mostert's Mustang.
It wasn't until third-placed McLaughlin started to put the pressure on Mostert that Reynolds was able to pull away, leaving the two Mustangs to squabble over second place as he streaked into the lead.
The battle for second came to a head on Lap 16, McLaughlin and Mostert running side-by-side through from Turn 4 to Turn 6. Mostert was initially able to hang on, before being forced to concede the position two laps later.
Mostert made his first stop the next time around, followed by McLaughlin and Reynolds on Laps 21 and 22 respectively.
It was actually Jamie Whincup who came out of the first round of stops with the effective lead, thanks to the undercut from having pitted on Lap 16.
Having taken on the most fuel of the leaders, Reynolds came out just ahead of McLaughlin. He was unable to shake the Penske Ford, however, with McLaughlin grabbing second spot on Lap 31.
When Whincup made his second stop on Lap 38 McLaughlin found himself with a 5s lead over a struggling Reynolds.
Where Reynolds' race really fell over, however, was his Lap 43 stop. A wheel nut problem turned what should have been a short service into a long one, taking him out of contention.
McLaughlin stopped a lap later, coming out 2s behind Whincup. Within a handful of laps the gap was gone, and on Lap 50 McLaughlin charged down the inside of Whincup at the final corner to grab a lead he would comfortably hang on to until the end.
Mostert quickly caught Whincup once McLaughlin was through, but couldn't get a move on the seven-time champ done before his front tyres were past their best.
Having staved off the initial challenge from Mostert, Whincup was even able to re-establish a gap in the closing laps, 3s separating the pair at the flag.
Shane van Gisbergen charged his way to fourth, passing Reynolds with a few laps to go before running down Fabian Coulthard on the final lap.
Reynolds ended up sixth, followed by Will Davison, Nick Percat, Mark Winterbottom and Lee Holdsworth.
|1||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT|
|2||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||4.7025|
|3||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||7.3571|
|4||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||10.0528|
|5||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||10.6977|
|6||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||17.5361|
|7||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||24.1396|
|8||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||27.4907|
|9||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||42.8980|
|10||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||43.6385|
|11||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||48.3833|
|12||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||51.8543|
|13||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||53.2488|
|14||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1'02.1308|
|15||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1'02.8807|
|16||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1'04.1986|
|17||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1'04.7663|
|18||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1'08.3095|
|19||Simona de Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1 lap|
|20||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1 lap|
|21||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1 lap|
|22||Michael Caruso||Holden Commodore ZB||1 lap|
|23||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1 lap|
|24||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||1 lap|
|View full results|
Townsville Supercars: Reynolds pips Mostert to pole
Reynolds won't blame crew for costly pit blunder