SVG denies McLaughlin dream Penske debut

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 05/03/2017
  • By Lewis Isaacs

Shane van Gisbergen took advantage of a late mistake from Scott McLaughlin to deny Shell V-Power Racing a maiden Supercars win at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.

McLaughlin was on course to take victory before a brake lock-up with just a handful of laps to go saw the Red Bull Holden slip through.

Pole-sitter van Gisbergen had dropped behind both Shell Fords off the start, where Fabian Coulthard initially held the lead.

Unable to find a way through on his team-mate, McLaughlin was one of the first drivers to stop, taking on fuel and tyres on lap eight.

The move put the Kiwi into clear air at the back of the field and he took advantage of the running to turn consistently fast laps.

Van Gisbergen picked up his speed and eventually took the lead from Coulthard on lap 14.

Coulthard made his first stop two laps later and emerged behind McLaughlin and James Courtney, who took on less fuel on his first stop.

Van Gisbergen’s stop on lap 17 put him behind McLaughlin, Courtney, Coulthard and Cameron Waters, with McLaughlin’s early running on a clear track converted into a healthy lead.

McLaughlin’s advantage was cemented as van Gisbergen, Courtney and Coulthard battled for P2, giving the #17 Ford a 10 second advantage ahead of the final stops.

McLaughlin stretched his middle stint to lap 41, while van Gisbergen’s stop a lap later shrank the lead to six seconds.

McLaughlin was handed a bad sportsmanship flag on lap 62 for an overuse of the turn two kerbs as van Gisbergen turned up the pressure.

Van Gisbergen cut the gap to a second with five laps remaining and by lap 75 tailed the Falcon into turn 8.

A rear-lock-up from McLaughlin opened the door for the Holden driver to move into the lead and score the 100th Supercars win for the VF Commodore.

Behind the battle for the lead, Chaz Mostert scored third after clever strategy from his Prodrive team moved him through the field through pitstops.

The 2014 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner had only narrowly missed out on staying ahead of van Gisbergen during the second stops in a crucial moment for the race.

Courtney held on for fourth place despite mid-race contact with Simona De Silvestro that turned her #78 Altima around in a move to be investigated after the race.

Coulthard faded to fifth while Jamie Whincup could only manage sixth after starting down in 10th due to his mistake in the Top 10 Shootout.

Tim Slade recovered from a mid-race run down the turn four escape road to finish eighth ahead of Todd Kelly and Craig Lowndes.

The race ran without a safety car interruption, with defending champion Nick Percat the only retirement after hitting the wall at turn eight on the opening lap and limping to the garage.

A late puncture on Michael Caruso’s #23 Altima sent him down the order to finish in 22nd.

Rookie drivers De Silvestro and Alex Rullo both finished the race, with De Silvestro coming home 23rd and Rullo 25th.

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