Ford sweeps V8 Supercars Challenge at Melbourne's Albert Park
V8 Supercars season continues this weekend with the Coates Hire Supercars Challenge at Melbourne’s Albert Park, the traditional non-championship event which serves as a support event for the Formula 1 Grand Prix. In four races from Friday to Sunday, Ford captured all four wins.
Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard brought three wins to DJR Team Penske/Shell V-Power Racing Team while the winner of the fourth race was Chaz Mostert in the #55 Supercheap Auto Racing Ford FG X Falcon.
Maiden win for DJR Team Penske
In the first race on Friday, Scott McLaughlin took a long-awaited maiden Supercars race victory for DJR Team Penske since Roger Penske took a majority share in Dick Johnson Racing at the start of 2015. The race ended with a heavy accident, so McLaughlin led team-mate Fabian Coulthard to the chequered flag under Safety Car.
An accident happened three laps before the end, when brake failure launched Nick Percat’s Holden car into back of Lee Holdsworth’s Holden at high-speed. The two drivers walked away uninjured despite heavy damage to both Commodores.
Fabian Coulthard started from pole but in the #12 Ford FG X Falcon, losing the lead in the opening lap to Jamie Whincup in front. Whincup lost the lead two laps later, dropping behind McLaughlin, Coulthard and Chaz Mostert.
Another 1-2 for DJR Team Penske in second Friday’s race
In the second Friday’s race, Fabian Coulthard started from pole again but this time he had made no mistake, leading from start to finish. McLaughlin remained second in the #17 Ford, to complete another 1-2 for the DJR Team Penske.
Michael Caruso progressed from fifth to third at turn one and completed the podium. The race was shortened by three laps after a lengthy early safety car to recover the damaged Holdens of Shane van Gisbergen and James Moffat.
Third win in a row on Saturday
The winning streak of the Shell V-Power Racing Team continued in Saturday, with Fabian Coulthard winning one more race from pole. He led each of the thirteen laps, taking the checkered flag 0.8 seconds ahead of Jamie Whincup in the #88 Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s Commodore. Whincup managed to beat another DJR Team Penske’s Ford, keeping Scott McLaughlin five seconds behind in the third place.
Just 24 cars started the race following a withdrawal of Nick Percat and Lee Holdsworth because of heavy crash in the opening race. The defending champion Shane van Gisbergen made a biggest progress, charging from 23rd on the grid to 11th.
Long-awaited win for Mostert
Jamie Whincup started Sunday’s race from pole ahead of Coulthard. They where in front for much of the race, with Coulthard leading until the Lap 7. Then, tyre trouble hit both, so Chaz Mostert progressed to the lead and stayed there until the end. It’s Mostert’s first Supercars victory since August 2015.
He took the checkered flag 9.7 seconds ahead of Shane van Gisbergen, with Tim Slade completing the podium. Fabian Coulthard became the overall winner of the Coates Hire Supercars Challenge, collecting six points more than team-mate Scott McLaughlin, who finished just 17th in Race 4 with steering problems.