Townsville Supercars: McLaughlin claims 13th season win

Scott McLaughlin claimed what was ultimately a straightforward win in the opening Supercars encounter on the streets of Townsville.

Townsville Supercars: McLaughlin claims 13th season win

The DJR Team Penske driver was able to outlast an aggressive strategic move from Jamie Whincup to set up a 13th win of the season, with a pitstop blunder having taken polesitter David Reynolds outs of contention. 

McLaughlin's final winning margin was 4.7s over Whincup and Chaz Mostert.

Reynolds led the first part of the race, spending the opening 12 laps with mirrors full of Mostert's Mustang.

It wasn't until third-placed McLaughlin started to put the pressure on Mostert that Reynolds was able to pull away, leaving the two Mustangs to squabble over second place as he streaked into the lead.

The battle for second came to a head on Lap 16, McLaughlin and Mostert running side-by-side through from Turn 4 to Turn 6. Mostert was initially able to hang on, before being forced to concede the position two laps later.

Mostert made his first stop the next time around, followed by McLaughlin and Reynolds on Laps 21 and 22 respectively. 

It was actually Jamie Whincup who came out of the first round of stops with the effective lead, thanks to the undercut from having pitted on Lap 16.

Having taken on the most fuel of the leaders, Reynolds came out just ahead of McLaughlin. He was unable to shake the Penske Ford, however, with McLaughlin grabbing second spot on Lap 31.

When Whincup made his second stop on Lap 38 McLaughlin found himself with a 5s lead over a struggling Reynolds. 

Where Reynolds' race really fell over, however, was his Lap 43 stop. A wheel nut problem turned what should have been a short service into a long one, taking him out of contention.

McLaughlin stopped a lap later, coming out 2s behind Whincup. Within a handful of laps the gap was gone, and on Lap 50 McLaughlin charged down the inside of Whincup at the final corner to grab a lead he would comfortably hang on to until the end. 

Mostert quickly caught Whincup once McLaughlin was through, but couldn't get a move on the seven-time champ done before his front tyres were past their best. 

Having staved off the initial challenge from Mostert, Whincup was even able to re-establish a gap in the closing laps, 3s separating the pair at the flag.

Shane van Gisbergen charged his way to fourth, passing Reynolds with a few laps to go before running down Fabian Coulthard on the final lap.

Reynolds ended up sixth, followed by Will Davison, Nick Percat, Mark Winterbottom and Lee Holdsworth.

Race results:

Cla Driver Car Time
1 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin
Ford Mustang GT
2 Australia Jamie Whincup
Holden Commodore ZB 4.7025
3 Australia Chaz Mostert
Ford Mustang GT 7.3571
4 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen
Holden Commodore ZB 10.0528
5 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard
Ford Mustang GT 10.6977
6 Australia David Reynolds
Holden Commodore ZB 17.5361
7 Australia Will Davison
Ford Mustang GT 24.1396
8 Australia Nick Percat
Holden Commodore ZB 27.4907
9 Australia Mark Winterbottom
Holden Commodore ZB 42.8980
10 Australia Lee Holdsworth
Ford Mustang GT 43.6385
11 Australia Anton De Pasquale
Holden Commodore ZB 48.3833
12 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner
Nissan Altima 51.8543
13 Australia James Courtney
Holden Commodore ZB 53.2488
14 Australia Todd Hazelwood
Holden Commodore ZB 1'02.1308
15 Australia James Golding
Holden Commodore ZB 1'02.8807
16 Australia Tim Slade
Holden Commodore ZB 1'04.1986
17 Australia Rick Kelly
Nissan Altima 1'04.7663
18 Australia Macauley Jones
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.3095
19 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro
Nissan Altima 1 lap
20 Australia Scott Pye
Holden Commodore ZB 1 lap
21 Australia Cameron Waters
Ford Mustang GT 1 lap
22 Australia Michael Caruso
Holden Commodore ZB 1 lap
23 Australia Jack Le Brocq
Holden Commodore ZB 1 lap
24 Australia Garry Jacobson
Nissan Altima 1 lap
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Townsville Supercars: Reynolds pips Mostert to pole
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