Hidden gems: behind 2020's most unlikely podium

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 02/06/2021
  • By James Pavey

In its 64 championship races, Darwin’s first race in 2020 provided a podium trio few would have seen coming by race’s start.

The next stop on the 2021 calendar, Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway, hosted a historic race to kick off the Top End doubleheader.

So thrilling was the contest, that Supercars.com listed it third in its best races of the 2020 season.

Race 13 of the 2020 Repco Supercars Championship was won by Erebus Motorsport’s Anton De Pasquale, who started sixth.

WATCH: RACE 13 HIGHLIGHTS 2020

It was the lowest starting position for a Darwin winner since Mark Winterbottom won from 10th in the 2014 finale.

Winterbottom’s win was one of four in Darwin history from 10th or lower; three times a race has been won from 12th.

Russell Ingall won the second-ever race from 13th in 1998, before Rick Kelly and Shane van Gisbergen shared the 2011 wins having started 12th.

The nine races in Darwin prior to De Pasquale’s win, and five afterwards, were all won from the first two rows on the grid.

De Pasquale takes the chequered flag

James Courtney claimed his first and so far only podium for Tickford Racing, vaulting from eighth to second.

Coming home third was Scott Pye, who scored his maiden Team 18 podium from 10th on the grid.

The race also featured a stunning fifth by Chris Pither, who started 19th. Chaz Mostert started alongside him in 20th, and came home seventh.

Front-row starters Scott McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup were 20th and 17th respectively, having been slapped with time penalties over separate incidents.

WATCH: DE PASQUALE TAKES HIS FIRST WIN

Whincup crossed the line third, but was demoted once his 15-second time penalty was applied for an unsafe pit release.

McLaughlin was also pinged for a messy Safety Car restart on Courtney.

De Pasquale helped Erebus to its first win since Newcastle 2018, and became the 80th winner in ATCC/Supercars history.

He remained the series’ newest winner until Andre Heimgartner became winner No. 81 at The Bend Motorsport Park last month.

Victory for De Pasquale

De Pasquale became the second first-time winner in as many races following Jack Le Brocq’s breakthrough in Sydney, and he also helped the #99 numberplate to its first ever win.

Courtney and Pye, in new teams following their three-year stint as Walkinshaw Andretti United teammates, each registered some key numbers.

It marked Courtney’s first podium in a Ford since his title-winning campaign in 2010, and the first podium for the #44 since John Bowe at Oran Park in 1986.

It was also Courtney’s first solo driver podium since Symmons Plains 2018; a wait of over two years, sandwiching his Bathurst 2019 podium alongside Jack Perkins.

Courtney on track en route to second

Pye helped Team 18 claim its first podium as a fully-fledged outfit, with Charlie Schwerkolt hitting the rostrum through Alex Davison at Phillip Island in 2013.

That day, Schwerkolt ran a car out of the Ford Performance Racing stable.

Pye also helped the #20 to its first podium since 1992, two years after his birth. On that occasion, Alan Jones climbed onto the Oran Park podium.

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to the Northern Territory for the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown across June 18-20. Tickets are available here.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo, and will be broadcast live and free on Seven.

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