Published on April 15th, 2019 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Fabian Coulthard wins the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint Event 4
Fabian Coulthard claimed his first Supercars victory in 11 months, beating Shell V-Power Racing team-mate Scott McLaughlin in the second leg of the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint. The DJR Team Penske Mustangs were the class of the field, Coulthard jumping pole-sitter and early leader McLaughlin during the first pitstops.
He remained ahead during the second round,and managed the race from there, crossing the line 0.6793 seconds ahead. Coulthard’slast victory came at Winton last May, and he consolidates his position asMcLaughlin’s closest challenger in the championship.
“We work so hard as a team, Scott has had alot of wins this year, which is a credit to all those guys, they’ve done afantastic job,” Coulthard said.
“To finally get one is awesome, I can’tthank my crew enough.”
Asked if he was surprised to jumpMcLaughlin in the stops, he added: “A little bit. I was a little bit shocked.
“I’m not sure what happened to Scott on oneof his outlaps, because I was expecting a red car to go blowing past.
“But thankfully we had great pitstops, wehad a fast car, it looked after its tyres, it ticked all the boxes.”
Penrite Racing’s Anton De Pasquale took animpressive third, 4.1903s adrift despite late concerns over fuel, the23-year-old’s maiden Supercars podium.
McLaughlin got the best of the startagainst Coulthard, and the Shell Fords pulled away from De Pasquale, whostarted fourth, in the opening laps.
The Saturday race winner led by 1.5s whenhe started the pitstop cycles on lap five, which shook up the order for thesecond stint.
Chaz Mostert and Cameron Waters wererunning fifth and sixth but emerged effectively first and second, with Tickfordshort-filling both Mustangs and not changing tyres on Mostert’s.
Both Shell Fords were also jumped by DePasquale as Coulthard got ahead of McLaughlin after pitting two laps later.
McLaughlin was first in again for hissecond pitstop, from the back of the four-car pack led by Waters on lap 17.
He vaulted Mostert and Waters, who came inthe next time around, but De Pasquale emerged ahead from his stop two lapslater.
Coulthard jumped them all from fourth inthe second-stint order after pitting on lap 20, as McLaughlin snuck past DePasquale at Turn 2.
With the stops complete and 25 lapsremaining, Coulthard held a one-second advantage over his stablemate. The gapremained relatively stable as the laps ticked by, the pair dropping De Pasqualegradually. There was no clear challenge from McLaughlin on the way home,Coulthard taking the 11th victory of his Supercars career.
He now trails McLaughlin by 124 points, thesame margin as pre-event after the pair traded one-two finishes.
“I’m really happy with my weekend, it’sbeen a big week for those guys away, two weeks on the road and to come awaywith three one-twos is massive,” McLaughlin said.
“We’ll have a little think about it in thedebrief, talk about a few things, but the idea is for the team to win and we’vedone that on multiple occasions in this past couple of weeks.”
De Pasquale could ultimately not go withthe lead Fords, but did enough to hold off the Tickford Mustangs behind him. Amidsuggestions he was running low on fuel, De Pasquale crossed the line 1.7s aheadof Will Davison in fourth. A maiden Supercars podium comes in De Pasquale’s41st start, with his previous-best result a seventh.
“It’s awesome. It was obviously really goodto start off with fourth in qualifying. I nailed the start and then justfollowed the Penske boys for most of the race,” he said.
“Obviously the team had a really goodstrategy, I was in clean air for most of the race and it’s a credit to them,it’s what they deserve.
“I had about 10 [laps] to go and Willwasn’t going to catch me, but then they said save fuel and obviously that’svery stressful when you’re fighting for your first podium.
“You’ve got to save fuel and try and gofast, but in the end it all worked out and I think we’ll have a great nighttonight.”
Davison was the best Tickford Mustang bythe time the pitstops played out, in fourth and having run a more-conventionalstrategy. He stayed there, leading home Mostert and Waters and making it fiveMustangs in the top six places. The Red Bull Holden Team’s troubled weekendfinished with a quiet seventh for Shane van Gisbergen, 14s behind Coulthard,with Jamie Whincup 12th. Rick Kelly spent the second half of the race trying todefend eighth from Nick Percat and David Reynolds.
They were all, though, caught by a chargingTim Slade, who started 20th. Slade ran significantly longer before making hissecond stop, ultimately emerging in 16th with 15 laps to go, but on fresherrubber. The Freightliner Commodore passed Reynolds and Brad Jones Racingteam-mate Percat, but could not snatch eighth from Kelly. Todd Hazelwood wasspun out of seventh at Turn 6 on the opening lap by James Courtney. Stewardshanded Courtney a 15-second penalty, and his day got worse with a pair ofright-front tyre failures, finishing last and two laps down. Hazelwood fellbehind the back of the pack after the spin, ultimately recovering to 16th.