Coulthard leads Shell Ford one-two in Race 4
- By Stefan Bartholomaeus
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Fabian Coulthard led home Shell V-Power Racing team-mate Scott McLaughlin to win an incident packed finale to the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint.
The Shell Fords were gifted the front-running when, for the second day in succession, Chaz Mostert made an unforced error that saw him slide out of the lead.
Starting third, Mostert jumped to the front when short-filled at the first round of stops and after an impressive middle stint continued in the lead when the second fuel loads were taken.
He fell foul of a slippery Turn 6 on lap 58, however, allowing Coulthard to hand the Shell team its first championship race win since Roger Penske’s takeover of the squad.
It was the perfect response from Coulthard after being dealt a 35-point penalty just hours before the start of the race following an investigation into yesterday’s carnage.
A series of Safety Cars ensured the race reached its time cut-off eight laps short of its scheduled 84, with just three laps from the final restart to the chequered flag.
“I didn’t think it was possible after qualy, but in the dry the thing was a jet,” smiled Coulthard, who started sixth.
“I think we should leave here pretty happy. A one-two for the team doesn’t get much better.”
“I’m stoked for Fabian,” added McLaughlin.
“He went through some hard yards last year and I’ve come in and been pretty lucky. He’s certainly going to push for the championship.”
Jamie Whincup trailed the Shell Fords home in third ahead of Craig Lowndes, David Reynolds, Cameron Waters, Chaz Mostert, Tim Slade and Shane van Gisbergen.
Van Gisbergen had to recover from a 15 second time penalty served at his second pitstop after an early clash with Todd Kelly.
The penalty saw the Kiwi drop to the tail of the lead lap, making the remainder of the day a salvage mission for championship points.
Both rounds of pitstops took place under Safety Car – triggered by single-car crashes for Jason Bright and Tim Blanchard on laps five and 42 respectively.
A wet track had seen all bar three cars – Cameron Waters, Bright and Alex Rullo – elect for the safe option of starting on wets.
All took the chance under the first yellow to move to slicks, which despite occasional drizzle proved the rubber of choice for the duration.
Waters drove maturely during his early laps on slicks and would emerge from the first stops in second, attacking team-mate Mostert for the lead on the restart.
Two further Safety Cars were called later in the race when Lee Holdsworth and then Todd Kelly found the gravel at turn six.
Van Gisbergen now holds a 20 point lead over Coulthard, with Whincup a further 31 arrears in third.
CLICK HERE for the full Race 4 result.