Scott McLaughlin was skillfully able to turn around a strategic error from the Shell V-Power Racing crew that gave Shane van Gisbergen an upper hand!
The tables turned dramatically though, allow a Red Bull Holden Racing Team pitlane error to hand the victory to McLaughlin in Adelaide and seize the championship lead right off the bat.
McLaughlin got a great lead over van Gisbergen off the start line to lead through the opening stint of the race, however Van Gisbergen unexpectedly emerged from the lane in front, having caught the Shell V-Power team off guard as they were re-fuelling.
From there, the #97 Commodore cruised to what had grown to become a five-second lead by the second round of pitstops, and after stopping one lap after McLaughlin, van Gisbergen returned to the track with his lead intact.
However, shortly after, it became apparent that the Red Bull Holden had not taken the full fuel top-up as required and therefore had to make a third stop. A stop that Van Gisbergen did make 10 laps from the end, giving up a nine-second lead and returning in fourth with fresh tyres for a late charge, although a suspension issue soon reared its head.
That left McLaughlin with a clear run to the flag, backing up his second on Saturday with a 10-second victory from Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert.
“Full credit to Shane and his team, they really should’ve won that race,” said McLaughlin. “They had the faster car, so I’ll take it, we’ve got to take the luck when we can.”
Mostert jumped a gaggle of cars with a clever strategy after taking on extra fuel at his first stop.
“We were obviously pretty lucky with the Safety Car, but still probably had the same pace as a podium today, so we’ll take it,” he said.
Tickford duo Cameron Waters held onto third as van Gisbergen closed in, but the Monster Energy Mustang was let off the hook when van Gisbergen suffered a right-front suspension failure, leaving him forced to park his car with just four laps remaining; a tough break after a sensational drive.
At the end, McLaughlin left Adelaide with a 27-point lead over Whincup in the standings, with Mostert an encouraging third.
Van Gisbergen’s DNF leaves the 2016 champion down in 13th overall, already 159 points behind McLaughlin.