Superloop Adelaide 500 winner Scott McLaughlin has consoled hot rival Shane van Gisbergen after dual disasters cruelled the Red Bull Holden drivers’ race-winning efforts.
McLaughlin’s first win since last year’s controversial Bathurst 1000 thriller came when he least expected it, thanks to van Gisbergen being the recipient of two key dramas which ultimately resulted in a non-finish.
Van Gisbergen ceded the lead to McLaughlin from pole on the run to Turn 1, before regaining it through the first round of stops following a lapse by the Shell V-Power Racing crew.
From there, van Gisbergen was on a tear and gapped McLaughlin with ease, and the Red Bull Holden squad looked to have retained the 2016 series champion’s advantage after negating McLaughlin’s undercut effort through the second pit cycle.
However, it became apparent Red Bull Holden had failed to fill van Gisbergen’s car, with the win slipping away in a heartbeat.
A podium still loomed for van Gisbergen as the team bolted on fresh tyres in his third stop, but as he ranged to the back of Cameron Waters’ #6 Monster Mustang, the #97 went long at Turn 7 with a handful of laps remaining.
A right front suspension failure appeared to be the drama, and van Gisbergen crawled to a halt at the exit of Turn 8.
Van Gisbergen hitched a ride back to the lane in Waters’ car, but only after watching McLaughlin sail through to claim a second Adelaide 500 crown on the bounce.
McLaughlin then found out van Gisbergen and consoled his rival, who was cleary despondent after watching a great chance at silverware fall into a heap. In a way, it was McLaughlin’s response to van Gisbergen coming to his aid following his major Gold Coast crash last year.
Speaking prior to the podium celebrations, McLaughlin knew it was a win which fell from the heavens, van Gisbergen’s lead a whopping nine seconds prior to the #97’s third stop.
“Full credit to Shane and his team, they really should’ve won that race,” McLaughlin said.
“They had the faster car. I’ll take it, I’ll take the luck we can.
“I’m really happy for all the Ford fans out there that got a win today.”
Friendly fire! 1st lap chaos
McLaughlin’s pit dramas on Sunday were cancelled out by the win, although his team got it right 24 hours earlier when he vaulted from P7 at the start to P2 by the end, finishing a distant second to Jamie Whincup.
In a year the margins are expected to be tight, with Red Bull Holden – despite van Gisbergen’s Sunday failure – making gains, McLaughlin knows his team must be tip-top if he’s to claim a third drivers’ title on the bounce.
“I won’t look back at it, my guys always put me on a great strategy, yesterday they put me on an awesome one,” he continued.
“Today I was like, ‘damn, we didn’t get in front of him’, but I had to pull my socks up and have a crack.
“I’m really proud of everyone, thanks for all the support, I’m ready for a big year.”
Shane van Gisbergen has sealed another pole position on the Adelaide streets as Red Bull Holden Racing Team stablemate Jamie Whincup fell to seventh in a gripping Top 10 Shootout.
Last man out Whincup, who took pole and victory at the Superloop Adelaide 500 on Saturday, lost nearly half a second in the final sector of his lap to hand his teammate pole for Sunday afternoon’s Race 2.
Defending series champion Scott McLaughlin made it an all-Kiwi front row , with Tickford duo Cameron Waters and Will Davison filling out the second row.
It marked van Gisbergen’s 30th career pole and eighth on the Adelaide Parklands Circuit, drawing level with Whincup’s tally which itself rose to eight following his Saturday effort.
The two-part qualifying began in high drama for Brad Jones Racing rookie Jack Smith, who caused a red flag after he hit the Turn 8 wall.
When the session resumed, Lee Holdsworth swiped the same wall but managed to top Q1, and would carry over his pace to end up P6 in Q2.
David Reynolds, who missed pole on Saturday by just 0.0048s, will start 14th after he suffered an engine issue early in Q2 – just a day after he copped a suspected power steering drama on his shootout lap.
Whincup and Waters were split by just 0.0436s at the top in Q2, with the Red Bull Holden driver’s 1:19.8363s the benchmark, the top 10 covered by 0.5993s down to Anton De Pasquale.
Whincup wins opening race
For the second day running, De Pasquale was the first man out in the shootout, but his 1:20.5161s was quickly usurped by Rick Kelly before Fabian Coulthard went faster than his Q2 lap. Chaz Mostert – who holds the practice/qualifying lap record after his Friday heroics – pipped Coulthard by 0.0191s to be fastest through the first four runners.
Van Gisbergen had other ideas, despite the track warming up, putting 0.3s on Mostert before Will Davison gave away a strong opening sector to slot in between the Holden duo.
McLaughlin’s effort proved 0.0383s down despite a fastest first sector of his own, while Waters went in the opposite direction and slotted into third.
That left Whincup to try create a Red Bull Holden front row, and two quick sectors had the seven-time champion in line for pole. However, the #88 pilot fell away in the final sector to cede pole to his teammate and make his chances to defend his Saturday win much tougher.