VASC: McLaughlin Scores First Win With Penske In Barbagallo Opener

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Scott McLaughlin hugs team owner Roger Penske after his Supercars win at Barbagallo Raceway on Saturday. (Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images AsiaPac photo)

PERTH, Western Australia — Scott McLaughlin scored his first Virgin Australia Supercars Championship race win for Shell V-Power Racing on Saturday, driving to victory lane in front of team owner Roger Penske at Barbagallo Raceway.

In a dominant performance from the Shell-sponsored Ford Falcons, McLaughlin finally converted his early season speed into victory, topping the 120 km Perth prelim ahead of teammate Fabian Coulthard.

McLaughlin won the start from polesitter Coulthard, with the Shell Fords charging into the distance during the early laps of what was a tire economy race.

The Falcons had a staggering seven seconds on third-place Shane van Gisbergen by lap 11 of 50, when the Kiwi elected to let teammate Jamie Whincup through.

Coulthard shadowed McLaughlin through the early stages, but dropped 3.5 seconds adrift of the lead by the time he stopped on lap 22.

McLaughlin responded by pitting on the next lap, but only narrowly remained ahead of his teammate due to the strength of Coulthard’s undercut.

The teammates then marched on to the checkered flag, with McLaughlin ending up 1.3 seconds ahead of Coulthard at the finish.

“It’s been a long time coming for me to be at a race track here and winning like this,” said Penske. “It’s a tremendous effort from our team. We’re showing the kind of team we are here and in the U.S.”

Whincup held third through the pit stop cycle and completed the podium, 7.5 seconds behind the Shell Fords.

Van Gisbergen and Mark Winterbottom were fourth and fifth, after both going longer than their key rivals in the first stint. They both traded tack position for the benefit of fresher rubber in the closing stages.

Chaz Mostert was the first front-runner to stop, and proved unable to hold off van Gisbergen and Winterbottom late in the second stint, dropping to sixth in the final rundown.

Craig Lowndes got the better of Will Davison in an intense battle for seventh, ahead of David Reynolds and Garth Tander.

James Courtney improved from 24th on the grid to 17th, leading home a tight battle with Michael Caruso, Scott Pye and Cameron Waters that saw the four cars separated by less than two tenths of a second at the finish.

Full race results can be viewed on the next page…

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