Winton Supercars: Coulthard leads all-Kiwi top three

Fabian Coulthard beat fellow New Zealanders Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin to secure his first Supercars race win since last August at Winton.

Coulthard got a massive free kick at the start of the race, the Kiwi arriving at Turn 1 all on his own after teammate and polesitter McLaughlin bogged down badly when the lights went green.

That meant Coulthard could streak into the lead ahead of Nissan drivers Michael Caruso and Rick Kelly, while McLaughlin was shuffled all the way back to eighth by the end of Lap 1.

From there, DJR Team Penske opted to split its strategies for its two cars. Coulthard was left out to set the pace at the front of the field, while McLaughlin was dragged into the lane on Lap 4 so that he could get some clear air, and short-filled in the hopes of getting track position as the first round of stops shook out.

And that's how it played out, McLaughlin floating back up the order to second place behind his teammate by Lap 22.

The trick was then staying ahead of the Nissans during the second round of stops, with McLaughlin still needing to take on a lot of fuel while Kelly in particular was shaping up for a shorter second stop.

However it turned out that McLaughlin had done enough during that second stint, emerging from his second stop on Lap 29 ahead of both Kelly, who had stopped a lap earlier, and Caruso, who came in on the same lap as the Penske Ford.

That meant it was a Penske one-two for the start of the third and final stint, but it didn't stay that way.

Shane van Gisbergen, who had run at the back end of the Top 10 in the second stint, opted to make use of the high grip and low deg and go long before making his second stop. He finally pitted on Lap 42, coming out just behind McLaughlin but with significantly fresher rubber.

On Lap 50 van Gisbergen cruised passed McLaughlin to take second place, before setting after Coulthard, who was a little over seven seconds down the road.

But van Gisbergen's charge was short-lived, the gap only getting down to six seconds before ultimately blowing back out to 11 seconds as Coulthard secured his first win since August last year.

"The Shell V-Power car was on rails today, it was a pleasure to drive," said Coulthard.

"I'm not sure what happened to Scotty [at the start]. It's unfortunate, it would have been nice to have the two Shell cars come through the first two corners one and two. It wasn't to be, but a one and three, an all-Kiwi podium, it's a pretty cool moment."

Behind the three Kiwis was Kelly and Caruso, who rounded out a successful weekend for Nissan Motorsport.

Holden drivers Scott Pye and Tim Slade were next, while Jamie Whincup never showed signs of troubling the frontrunners on his way to eighth.

Richie Stanaway finished ninth, a breakthrough result after a difficult start to life as a full-time Supercars driver. It was his best solo finish in the series, the Kiwi coming home as the lead Tickford driver, a spot clear of Chaz Mostert.

"It was good to get a clean race for once," he said. "It's just a bit of a weight off my shoulders. To be honest I never expected to have a race result where I'd be the first Tickford car home this early in the season. Hopefully we can keep improving, as we're always aiming to do."

David Reynolds had another difficult race, dropping more points in the title fight despite a valiant comeback to 16th from dead last on the grid.

He's now more than a round win behind McLaughlin in the points, while van Gisbergen had reduced the gap at the top of the standings to 131.

ClaDriverCarTimeGap
1 12 new_zealand  Fabian Coulthard  Ford Falcon FG X 1:32'22.9780  
2 97 new_zealand  Earl Bamber 
new_zealand  Shane van Gisbergen
Holden Commodore ZB 1:32'34.0060 11.0280
3 17 new_zealand  Scott McLaughlin  Ford Falcon FG X 1:32'41.8960 18.9180
4 15 australia  Rick Kelly  Nissan Altima 1:32'48.4004 25.4224
5 23 australia  Michael Caruso  Nissan Altima 1:32'49.4607 26.4827
6 2 australia  Scott Pye  Holden Commodore ZB 1:32'50.9299 27.9519
7 14 australia  Tim Slade  Holden Commodore ZB 1:32'51.3335 28.3555
8 1 australia  Jamie Whincup  Holden Commodore ZB 1:32'52.6647 29.6867
9 56 new_zealand  Richie Stanaway  Ford Falcon FG X 1:32'55.9776 32.9996
10 55 australia  Chaz Mostert  Ford Falcon FG X 1:32'58.0394 35.0614
11 7 new_zealand  Andre Heimgartner  Nissan Altima 1:32'58.5679 35.5899
12 888 australia  Craig Lowndes  Holden Commodore ZB 1:33'04.5331 41.5551
13 230 australia  Will Davison  Ford Falcon FG X 1:33'04.8188 41.8408
14 8 australia  Nick Percat  Holden Commodore ZB 1:33'06.4354 43.4574
15 9 australia  David Reynolds 
australia  Will Brown 
Holden Commodore ZB 1:33'13.5684 50.5904
16 99 australia  Anton de Pasquale  Holden Commodore ZB 1:33'16.4983 53.5203
17 19 australia  Jack Le Brocq  Holden Commodore ZB 1:33'17.1081 54.1301
18 21 australia  Tim Blanchard  Holden Commodore ZB 1:33'18.8515 55.8735
19 25 australia  James Courtney  Holden Commodore ZB 1:33'19.9976 57.0196
20 5 australia  Mark Winterbottom  Ford Falcon FG X 1:33'20.2534 57.2754
21 400 australia  Lee Holdsworth  Holden Commodore ZB 1:33'20.4983 57.5203
22 33 australia  Garth Tander  Holden Commodore ZB 1:33'21.2660 58.2880
23 78 switzerland  Simona de Silvestro  Nissan Altima 1:33'24.7989 1'01.8209
24 35 australia  Todd Hazelwood  Ford Falcon FG X 1:33'40.9178 1'17.9398
25 34 australia  James Golding  Holden Commodore ZB 1:33'41.3117 1'18.3337
26 6 australia  Cameron Waters  Ford Falcon FG X 1:32'41.8683 5 laps 
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About this article
Series Supercars
Event Winton
Track Winton Motor Raceway
Article type Race report