TOWNSVILLE 400 – SUNDAY, JULY 7 – QUALIFYING, TOP 10 SHOOTOUT AND RACE
Fabian Coulthard - No. 333 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying – 8th (Fastest Lap: 1m12.3969s)
Shootout – 5th (Fastest Lap: 1m12.8599s)
Race 18 – 2nd (Fastest Lap: 1m13.7513s)
Scott McLaughlin - No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Qualifying – 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m12.1193s)
Shootout – 2nd (Fastest Lap: 1m12.5028s)
Race 18 – 11th (Fastest Lap: 1m13.7448s – fastest lap)
Fabian Coulthard has taken a well-earned podium in his 400th Supercars race in Townsville today, in one of the wildest races in recent memory that featured crashes, clashes, rain and fire.
The race started in semi-wet conditions, with light drizzle falling over the Reid Park street circuit. This would prove to be the first ever wet race in Townsville, and conditions only worsened as the race wore on.
Starting off the front row, Championship leader Scott McLaughlin was in second place heading down into Turn 2 when he was hit in the rear by Erebus Racing's David Reynolds, which knocked them both to the back of the pack.
McLaughlin returned to pit lane with a right rear puncture, and then had to mount a recovery drive to make his way back up the order and minimize the damage to his 2019 Championship campaign.
Across the remaining 69 laps, the rain increased to the point where wet tyres were the call on lap 30 and for the remainder of the race. McLaughlin drove well to finish 11th, a fantastic result after being damaged early and dropping a lap down. He has a 292-point gap to Coulthard in the standings.
Coulthard started from fifth, but jumped into third at Turn 2 when McLaughlin and Reynolds came together. He got himself to the lead of the race in the middle stint, after chasing down and passing Tickford's Cameron Waters.
When the rain started to fall, and the switch to wets occurred, Coulthard worked hard to stay up front as he battled with Shane van Gisbergen and Chaz Mostert.
Another Safety Car was called very late in the race when Garry Jacobsen's Nissan caught fire on the track, and Nick Percat's Holden was set alight in pit lane due to a fuel spillage. This was a long period, and the race ended up finishing under yellow flags.
Coulthard took a strong second place, and remains second now 207 points clear of Van Gisbergen. Shell V-Power Racing is 877 points in front of Triple Eight in the Teams' standings.
"It would have been great to win my 400th race, but whenever you get a podium in the category you're doing a good job so to finish second in those conditions is great. The track was changing with every lap. My car was so good in the dryer conditions, and then the rain came down. There were some wild battles with Shane and Chaz, and when you add spray to the mix it was pretty crazy. Great to finish on the podium and keep up our momentum."
"It was full-on out there, especially on lap one. In those kinds of conditions, everyone was just managing risk in those tricky conditions, and Reynolds was the opposite, being a desperado. There was no gap there, but he stuck his nose in and not only hurt my race but ruined his own too. I finished in front of him, and built the gap so it didn't really work out for him. The team did a great job and got me fixed up and back out on track to gain a decent haul of points. You can't win them all, and we certainly rebounded very well which was great. The team got a podium with Fabs, so overall it's been a solid weekend."