Having qualified on pole, Scott McLaughlin continued his form to comfortably win the Truck Assist Sydney SuperSprint at Sydney Motorsport Park, his fourth victory in the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
“Far out, the car was so good on both compounds today, and I was really proud of the guys during the pit stop,” commented McLaughlin. “These guys have been working so hard at the Shell V-Power Racing Team to get our pit stops right and consistent. And every time I come in, it’s just mint.”
“I had a solid day with a pole and a race win; you can’t get much better. We set ourselves up with a strategy that was similar to a lot of people, but hopefully this sets us up well for tomorrow.”
Both the Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustangs started Race 10 on hard tyres, as the majority of their competitors did. While both McLaughlin and Coulthard had an explosive start off the line, they were both quickly overtaken by those on soft tyres. McLaughlin dropping behind soft runners Shane van Gisbergen, Cameron Waters, Lee Holdsworth and Anton De Pasquale in the early stages. At the end of the third lap, McLaughlin was in P5 and Coulthard P6.
The first stint was somewhat processional with McLaughlin and Coulthard holding their positions and were the highest placed of all the cars on hard tyres. McLaughlin made his compulsory stop on lap 11 and swapped to soft tyres. On lap 16, Holdsworth rejoined the race just ahead of McLaughlin after pitting for a second set of soft tyres. McLaughlin didn’t back down from a battle, and after a slight nudge of panels, passed Holdsworth at turn three.
By lap 20, Coulthard was sitting in P2 and was starting to eat away at the margin to Red Bull’s van Gisbergen in P1. Coulthard ran long on his hard tyres and after leading the race for a short time, was one of the final cars in the field to stop with just 12 laps remaining. He ran an alternate tyre strategy to his teammate and stayed on hard tyres, saving his soft rubber for tomorrow’s races.
With 10 laps to go and all stops completed, McLaughlin was leading with a gap of just one second to Holdsworth who was hot on is tail. Coulthard was in P9 and had moved up another two to places by the closing stages of the 130km race. Positions remained unchanged to the chequered flag with McLaughlin winning and rounding out a perfect day, and Coulthard finishing in P7.
Red Bull Holden pair Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup ended up fourth and fifth, having run opposing tyre strategies.
Van Gisbergen led the opening 20 laps on softs before switching to hards, rejoining behind the top three and without the rubber to mount a fightback.
“It was a tough night for us in Sydney,” said van Gisbergen. “We started on the front row, took the lead pretty early, but didn’t quite have the speed on both sets of tyres. The cars were pretty good and had similar pace, even though we raced with different tyre strategies, so we need to find that extra bit of pace tomorrow.
“It will be interesting deciding what we do with our remaining tyres for tomorrow’s races, so tonight we’ll focus on what our strategy will be and hopefully have a crack at getting on the podium.”
Whincup soon overtook his teammate but eventually lost the place on the final lap, once his soft tyres had degraded.
McLaughlin extends his lead the championship by 26 points to a 75 point lead, with Coulthard advancing from 13th to 11th in the standings.
|3||Anton De Pasquale||50:14.7733|
|4||Shane van Gisbergen||50:27.4525|
|16||Jack Le Brocq||51:08.8384|