Shell V-Power Racing Team driver Scott McLaughlin has kept the lead of the 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, after today's 300km race on the streets of the Gold Coast was abandoned due to a torrential downpour mid-race.
Gold Coast 600 – Sunday, October 20 – Qualifying, Top 10 Shootout & Race
Fabian Coulthard & Tony D'Alberto - No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying – 11th (Fastest Lap: 1m10.9846s)
Race 27 – N/A
Scott McLaughlin & Alex Premat - No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying – 2nd (Fastest Lap: 1m10.3264s)
Top 10 Shootout – 8th (Fastest Lap: No Time – Kerb Hop)
Race 27 – N/A
RECAP: The final day of the Gold Coast 600 dawned overcast but dry, with patches of sun peeking through the clouds. With extremely heavy rain forecast for the afternoon, teams were prepared for a wet 300km race. Ultimately, it would prove to be an anti-climax.
This morning's qualifying session was stopped by a red flag after five minutes, with Jack Le Brocq's Tekno Holden running off circuit and stalling.
At the time, Scott McLaughlin was on a lap that would have seen him go to p1 at that point, until the red flags came out and he had to back off. The session restarted with no loss of time, and the field returned to circuit.
Unfortunately, an engine problem brought Car 12 back into the garage with just over 10 minutes left in the session, with Coulthard yet to set an indicative time. The issue was fixed in time for Coulthard to return to circuit for one final flyer.
McLaughlin went to p2 in his first proper flying laps before returning to the garage for tyres prior to his final outing, and then set a faster time on his final run but remained second and booked himself a place in the shootout.
Coulthard returned to circuit after the engine issue, and managed to qualify 11th, missing the shootout by one position and three-thousandths of a second.
In the Top 10 Shootout, McLaughlin tripped a kerb sensor at the beach chicane, and lost his lap time. As Jamie Whincup and Tim Slade had also tripped kerb sensors, McLaughlin would start the race eighth.
The race started in dry conditions, however under dark and threatening clouds. Alex Premat and Tony D'Alberto started the race, with Premat in Car 17 from eighth and D'Alberto in Car 12 from 11th.
Off the start, Prémat dropped into 9th, with D'Alberto up one position into 10th for first section of the race. Prémat took p8 from David Russell on lap 22, with D'Alberto passing Russell for p9 a lap later.
Rain began to fall around lap 28, with a Safety car called for pile-up in back half of circuit on lap 31, including Paul Dumbrell in Car 1. This moved Premat up to p4, and D'Alberto p5. Both the Shell V-Power cars came to pit lane for wet tyres on lap 32, returning to the circuit under safety car conditions.
Both cars returned to the lane once more on lap 35 for main drivers changes, as the co-drivers had completed their minimum lap requirements.
The weather continued to worsen, and the race was suspended on lap 36 with all cars returning to pit lane.
After a 20-minute delay, the cars returned to track under safety car conditions, before the race was again red flagged on lap 43. With no signs of the weather improving, the race was abandoned, and no points awarded due to not making required distance, leaving McLaughlin continuing in the lead of the Championship by 14 points.
McLaughlin and Premat finished second in the Pirtek Enduro Cup standings, behind Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards.
COULTHARD QUOTE: "It's a shame to finish the Pirtek Enduro Cup like that, with the race being declared a non-event due to the weather. We had a good car this weekend, and it would have been great to showcase some of that speed today. Tony did an awesome job again this year across all three races, and the team were excellent as always. Now we head to my home event in Auckland, I can't wait to get back there."
MCLAUGHLIN QUOTE: "Our objective this weekend was to close the championship gap, and we're leaving with the championship lead. It's a slender lead, but it's good to have the orange numbers back as we head to my home event in New Zealand. The cars and the team are strong, I love racing at Pukekohe and I'm really excited to head back there. Alex was amazing again this year, helping to get our championship back on track. Finishing second with him in the Pirtek Enduro Cup is great reward, so a big thanks to him."
D'ALBERTO QUOTE: "It got a bit hairy there at the end of my stint when the rain started coming down while we were still on slicks, but Alex and I worked together and stayed on the road to gain some good position. It was a shame to see the race end like that, with no points awarded but safety needs to come first. It was great to be with Fabian and Shell V-Power Racing Team again this year, it's fantastic being part of this team."
PREMAT QUOTE: "It was good to be again with Shell V-Power Racing this year, we have had some good races. Today were tricky conditions, always hard here when it is raining with lots of patches and slippery parts that make it hard to catch the car. Finishing the Pirtek Enduro Cup in second, right behind Lowndes and Richards is great, it is nice to be battling with the best teams and drivers and to finish with a podium."