Scott McLaughlin has won his sixth race of the 2017 Supercars Australia championship with victory in the first race of the Ipswich SuperSprint. McLaughlin had to battle Craig Lowndes early on for the lead of the race but as Lowndes dropped back through the field, McLaughlin soldiered on the claim the win.
At the start of the race, Lowndes got the better of McLaughlin into turn 1 with Chaz Mostert and Tim Slade behind them. At turn 3, Dale Wood spun James Moffat, sending Moffat back to the pits. Alex Rullo got caught up in the incident and was forced to retire his Lucas Dumbrell car.
McLaughlin retook the lead from Lowndes on the lap 3, who pitted the following lap. This early stop proved effective and Lowndes gained back the lead when McLaughlin came in on the eleventh lap. However, McLaughlin once again claimed back the lead on lap 13 and sailed onwards to victory.
Tyre degradation meant pitstop timing was crucial. The early stoppers, like Lowndes, began to suffer during the latter stages of the race. Lowndes dropped to fifth by race end as third-placed starter Chaz Mostert moved into second.
Lowndes’ team-mate Shane van Gisbergan pitted around the halfway stage of the race and began to slice his way easily through the field. Having rejoined in eighth after his stop, van Gisbergan eventually overtook Tim Slade for the final podium position on the last lap of the race.
A similar strategy helped Fabian Coulthard elevate to sixth from 13th on the grid. Championship contender Jamie Whincup, having already copped a five-place grid penalty, had a significant delay in the pits when the air spike couldn’t be removed from his car. He finished the race in 20th place.
McLaughlin’s lead over Whincup was 6 points coming into today’s race and now McLaughlin holds a 111-point advantage over his rival heading into Sunday’s second race.
Lap 39 (FINAL LAP): Scott McLaughlin wins Race 15 of the Supercars Australia championship in Ipswich! Chaz Mostert comes home second as Shane van Gisbergan overtakes Tim Slade for the final podium position on the last lap of the race!
Lap 37: Puncture for Simona de Silvestro.
Lap 35: Fabian Coulthard now up to sixth. Nick Percat overtakes Rick Kelly for seventh place. Jason Bright is wheeled back into the garage.
Lap 32: Shane van Gisbergan continues his charge and overtakes team-mate Craig Lowndes for fourth.
Lap 29: Nick Percat moves past David Reynolds for eighth place. Fabian Coulthard makes his move and gets by Reynolds and Tander for ninth.
Lap 28: Shane van Gisbergan moves into fifth ahead of Rick Kelly.
Lap 27: Chaz Mostert passes Tim Slade for second place.
Lap 26: van Gisbergan passes Winterbottom for sixth.
Lap 25: Top 10—McLaughlin, Slade, Mostert, Lowndes, R. Kelly, Winterbottom, van Gisbergan, Reynolds, Percat and Tander.
Lap 24: van Gisbergan passes David Reynolds for seventh.
Lap 21: Shane van Gisbergan pits from race lead.
Lap 20: Lee Holdsworth pits from second place.
Lap 19: Top seven cars still yet to pit.
Lap 18: Chaz Mostert now also moves past Lowndes.
Lap 16: Tim Slade moves past Lowndes for ninth.
Lap 13: McLaughlin overtakes Craig Lowndes. Shane van Gisbergan leads the race, he is yet to pit.
Lap 11: Scott McLaughlin and Chaz Mostert pit from the race lead. Both rejoin behind Craig Lowndes.
Lap 5: Craig Lowndes pits from second place.
Lap 3: Scott McLaughlin overtakes Lowndes for the race lead at turn 3.
Lap 1: Craig Lowndes takes the lead from McLaughlin, Mostert and Slade. Dale Wood spins James Moffat at turn 3. Big damage to Alex Rullo’s Lucas Dumbrell car.
Grid: Scott McLaughlin, Craig Lowndes, Chaz Mostert, Tim Slade, Mark Winterbottom, Rick Kelly, Shane van Gisbergen, Michael Caruso, Jamie Whincup and Cameron Waters.