Shell V-Power Racing Team driver Scott McLaughlin has retaken the lead of the 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, with help from his teammates in a seesawing 300km race on the streets of Surfers Paradise.
Fabian Coulthard & Tony D'Alberto - No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying – 6th (Fastest Lap: 1m10.6151s)
Top 10 Shootout – 4th (Fastest Lap: 1m10.7303s)
Race 26 – 11th (Fastest Lap: 1m11.8752s)
Scott McLaughlin & Alex Premat - No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying – 4th (Fastest Lap: 1m10.5198s)
Top 10 Shootout – 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m10.3744s)
Race 26 – 5th (Fastest Lap: 1m11.8745s)
RECAP: The first session for Supercars today was qualifying, where the objective for the session was for both cars to progress to the Top 10 Shootout, which was achieved with McLaughlin crossing the line fourth and Coulthard sixth.
In the shootout Scott McLaughlin took his 12th pole of 2018 in the shootout, securing the overall Armor All pole award for the second year running. A solid lap from Fabian Coulthard secured himself and Tony D'Alberto a fourth-place start.
Race 26 would prove to be a challenging one for Shell V-Power Racing Team, with on-track incidents and a lack of safety car periods late in the race forcing the team into a tough fuel strategy. The co-drivers started the race, with Alex Premat in Car 17 off pole, and Tony D'Alberto in Car 12 off p4. Contact between Alex and second placed Paul Dumbrell in Car 1 Holden pushed Car 17 into the wall, dropping Premat from the lead of the race into fifth on lap two. This elevated D'Alberto into second. A lap 22 Safety Car for a crash between Car 99 and Car 56 saw the majority of cars dive into the pit lane. D'Alberto entered first, with the team electing to short-fill Car 12 in order to avoid stacking Car 17. This saw D'Alberto rejoin in first place under Safety Car, however needing to max conserve fuel to make it to the second pit stop. Premat slotted back into fifth. Both Red Bull cars were given drive-through penalties for unsafe releases at their first pit stops, which then pushed Premat into fourth.
D'Alberto did an incredible job on the fuel save to get Car 12 to pit lane on lap 56, from second position. Coulthard then climbed onboard, and was fuel saving for the final 46 laps to the flag. Premat continued on until lap 61, with McLaughlin then taking the wheel for the run to the flag. This put McLaughlin in fifth, and Coulthard 10th.
With Coulthard being forced to fuel save throughout his entire final stint, and no caution periods coming, he dropped back to 11th at the flag. McLaughlin finished the race fifth, reclaiming the lead of the Championship with a 14-point buffer to Van Gisbergen. Coulthard remains seventh, and the team is second in the Teams' points.
Coulthard also took to the circuit in the Team Penske Shell Pennzoil No.22 NASCAR for a demonstration today.
COULTHARD QUOTE: "I'm a team player, and I will always help this team out as best as I can, and today was one of those days. We had to sacrifice a result on our side to help get one for Car 17. Today it worked well, Scotty is back in the championship lead. We had to save a lot of Shell V-Power today to get this car to the finish. We have a good car, so I think we can get a good result if we can use it. Overall, today was about the bigger picture and we want Shell V-Power Racing Team to win the championship. Driving the NASCAR today was a real highlight, what a fantastic machine. Thank you to Roger and the team for giving me the opportunity."
MCLAUGHLIN QUOTE: "Overall, we have to say that wasn't a bad result after we had contact with Car 1 and the wall early in the race. It seems to have bent something on the right rear there, so the boys will have to look at it and get it sorted for tomorrow. Good to have the orange numbers back on the car, now we have to keep them there."
D'ALBERTO QUOTE: "Today was all about team work. We sacrificed what might have been a good result for Fabian and I to ensure that sure Car 17 took as many points as possible. Fabian and I are members of the Shell V-Power Racing Team first and foremost, so we're happy to see Scott back in the Championship lead. Tomorrow is another day, and we'll have another go. The cars are fast, so hopefully we can grab some surfboards."
PREMAT QUOTE: "It's a shame to finish p5, as the car was very strong and fast, particularly in qualifying. But after the contact with Dumbrell, we definitely have to be happy that we finished the race well and Scott is back in the championship lead. This is what we want, and we have to grab more points again tomorrow."