If Symmons Plains was Red Bull Ampol Racing's happy hunting ground, then Tailem Bend is a Shell V-Power Racing Team paradise.
The 2021 season’s next venue, The Bend Motorsport Park, marks a key battleground for the Shell squad.
After a dour first visit in 2018, Shell Fords have won six of the last eight races at the The Bend.
Last year marked the third season the category hosted championship races at The Bend, with the venue hosting a double-header amid a rejigged calendar.
WATCH: HIGHLIGHTS OF COULTHARD’S STUNNING WIN
In six sprint races across two different layouts, Shell Fords hit the finish line first six times.
It resembles a ‘McLaughlinring’ of sorts; three-time series champion Scott McLaughlin won five races across the 2019 and 2020 events.
En route to a record-breaking 18-win title campaign in 2019, McLaughlin swept the visit to Tailem Bend, before winning races at the two 2020 events.
However, it was Fabian Coulthard who broke through first of the duo last year, in a race Supercars.com ranked as the best of the season.
Coulthard celebrates an all-time classic win
Having won 60 per cent of all Tailem Bend races, and claiming 60 per cent of poles, the Dick Johnson Racing outfit will head to South Australia buoyed by its record at the sweeping grand prix-style circuit.
Red Bull Commodores dominated the 2018 event, with Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup splitting the wins.
Van Gisbergen won the second race of the first 2020 event, before recovering in the second event in style; the current championship leader made up 27 places in the final two races to score unlikely top-five finishes.
Through the Shell Ford dominance, it was a Tickford Racing Mustang which won the last race at The Bend, Cameron Waters scoring a maiden solo race win last September.
WATCH: MCLAUGHLIN CLINCHES TITLE AT THE BEND
To next weekend’s event, Waters’ win remains the most recent race win for the Blue Oval.
However, it seems that Will Davison or Anton De Pasquale, who hit the front last time out in Tasmania, could be better-placed to break Ford’s duck.
Both drivers have form at The Bend; De Pasquale scored four top-five finishes at the venue last season, including a strong run to second in Race 29.
Davison’s last visit to The Bend resulted in a podium for 23Red Racing, the two-time Bathurst winner pushing McLaughlin all the way after leading early.
McLaughlin was imperious at The Bend
For Davison, who moved back into the top five in the standings, next weekend’s event marks another key opportunity for his team to return to winning ways.
"We deserve to go to The Bend full of excitement. Every race meeting I go to with this team, it’s special to know I’ve got a shot to be right there with the fast guys,” Davison wrote in his Supercars.com column.
"I’m really comfortable in the car now. The debriefs after Tassie have been very positive; we have data and information we can analyse, which will give us more understanding of what we can do better next time we hit the track.
"The Bend is a track I enjoy, and Anton likes it too; importantly, the team has always done well there.
Coulthard crosses the line to win last year
"We’ve kicked off the year at some circuits where Triple Eight traditionally does well at, so we want to address that.
"But we’re now heading to a string of circuits where our cars have been fast before, so I’m really excited to keep the ball rolling.”
The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to The Bend Motorsport Park for the OTR SuperSprint across May 7-9. Tickets are on sale now.
The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo with highlights on 7 and 7 Plus.
The Bend Motorsport Park race winners (drivers)
5: Scott McLaughlin2: Shane van Gisbergen1: Jamie Whincup, Fabian Coulthard, Cameron Waters
The Bend Motorsport Park race winners (teams)
6: Shell V-Power Racing Team3: Red Bull Ampol Racing**1:**Tickford Racing
The Bend Motorsport Park pole positions (drivers)
6: Scott McLaughlin2: Jamie Whincup1: Chaz Mostert, Cameron Waters
The Bend Motorsport Park pole positions (teams)
6: Shell V-Power Racing Team2: Red Bull Ampol Racing**1:**Walkinshaw Andretti United, Tickford Racing