Fabian Coulthard has this afternoon taken out race twenty-five of the championship at The Bend Motorsport Park which just happened to be his 200th career race start.
Coulthard claimed victory after a scintillating battle with Shane van Gisbergen and Jack Le Brocq.
Just as intriguing was the battle between Championship leaders Scott McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup who took their fight for the series off-track, running into each other as they battled for the lead on the opening lap.
McLaughlin had the perfect race start and led for the majority of the opening lap before seven-time Supercars Champion Whincup made a diving move and crashed into a turning McLaughlin on Turn 17 – sending the two Championship leaders onto the grass.
Whincup was awarded a 15-second time penalty for the incident, effectively ending his day early. At the same time, McLaughlin fought his way back to fight for the third position, only to cop his 15-second time penalty for a collision with Lee Holdsworth on one of the final corners of the race.
With the two front runners out of contention, the battle at the front was heart-stopping for fans with Coulthard locked in a three-way battle with Red Bull Holden’s Shane van Gisbergen and Supercheap Auto Mustang driver Le Brocq for much of the race.
The trio collided, pushed each other off the circuit and did everything they could to take the lead and hold it. In the end, Fabian Coulthard in his 200th career round start, came away with career victory 13.
The result ended a 41-race winless streak for the #12 Shell Mustang driver, his last victory was in Perth in 2019.
It was the perfect response from Coulthard who copped criticism in Townsville a fortnight ago with the Red Bull squad labelling the Shell V-Power outfit a “1+1 team”.
Behind Fabian Coulthard on the podium was Le Brocq who recorded his second career podium and rookie Bryce Fullwood in the Mobil 1 Middy’s Commodore.
It was 2019 Dunlop Super2 Champion Fullwood’s first career podium and ended an impressive day for the Walkinshaw Andretti United team. Chaz Mostert claimed his maiden pole position in a Holden after putting together a perfect lap in the ARMOR ALL Top 15 Shootout.
McLaughlin who fought his way back after the early incident with Whincup did finish third but the 15-second time penalty for the clash with Holdsworth demoted the Championship leader to an official finishing place of 15th.
Van Gisbergen fell to ninth, while Whincup also struggled on tyres late, finishing 19th.
Whincup now trail McLaughlin in the standings by 151 points heading into tomorrow’s two races.