MEDIA RELEASE/Team 18 - Photo: supplied Team 18 has recruited multiple championship and Bathurst-winning engineer…
Chaz Mostert joined Scott McLaughlin as a Ford Mustang race winner after victory in race 3 of the Virgin Australia Supercar Championship at the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit. Mostert profited from a bizarre outlap incident which saw the front row eliminated.
Cameron Waters collided with McLaughlin as the Shell V-Power driver generated heat into his tyres. The damage to the right rear of McLaughlin and the left front of Water’s Monster Energy Mustang was too severe to repair in the final moments before the race was due to start. McLaughlin told reporters at the time that he was reluctant to lay blame until he had seen images of the incident. He added that the matter was insignificant in light of recent events in his native New Zealand. McLaughlin and Waters caught up after the race and shook hands, even though the incident robbed McLaughlin of the chance to maintain his perfect winning record in 2019.
The front row of the grid remained empty with BJR drivers Tim Slade and Nick Percat given a clear run to the first turn. Tim Slade took the lead into turn 1 as Nick Percat was shuffled back a place by Jamie Whincup, with David Reynolds and Fabian Coulthard either side of the Percat Commodore. Whincup quickly looked to challenge Slade and grabbed the lead shortly after as Slade soon fell into the clutches of Reynolds. Coulthard was also under intense pressure from Mostert who pushed his tyres to the limit in the opening stint. The cooler temperatures of the late afternoon had some effect on grip levels, despite the increased amount of rubber on the track after Formula 1 qualifying had concluded some 30 minutes earlier. A number of drivers, including Whincup brushed the wall as they looked to carry corner speed across the back of the circuit.
Chaz Mostert moved into second as the teams completed their compulsory pit stops and then took the lead from Whincup a few laps later. Mostert established a comfortable gap to Red Bull Holden Racing driver as the race order at the front looked to be settled, with Slade, Reynolds, Coulthard, Pye, Courtney and Percat holding station. Shane van Gisbergen’s weekend was once again affected by a mechanical issue in the closing stages of the race when his right rear wheel came off the car at turn 9. The wheel bounced along the barriers for some time before coming to rest as van Gisbergen nursed his three wheel Commodore back to the pitlane. The wheel led to the intervention of the Safety Car for a short period.
The order at the front remained unchanged at the re-start as Mostert was again able to edge out a gap to Whincup and Slade, with the trio remaining in that order to the chequered flag. Shane van Gisbergen returned to the track to be classified in last place, with the small haul of points providing some consolation in light of McLaughlin’s DNF.
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