CHAZ MOSTERT BREAKS DROUGHT AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Chaz Mostert has broken his two-year winless streak to win the second race at Phillip Island.
It looked ominous for the rest of the field as both DJR Team Penske Ford Falcons spread eagled the field at the start, but superior strategy and a lack of tyre woes for Prodrive Racing Australia gave them a one-two result, with 2015 champ Mark Winterbottom finishing second. David Reynolds completing the podium, while James Moffat and Lee Holdsworth finished in the top five.
Qualifying was business as usual for the DJR Team Penske duo of Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard, who locked out the front row of the grid. McLaughlin set a record time of 1m 29.0621s to start from Pole and led away at the start, but the race was under Safety Car heading to lap two after an incident further down the field. Will Davison was squeezed between Nick Percat and Jason Bright resulting in Davison and Bright spinning, as Davison retired with steering and engine issues.
The Safety Car period provided the teams the opportunity to take their first pit stop, with double stacking becoming an issue for many drivers as the pit lane became blocked. The entire field bar McLaughlin pitted, who later pitted during green flag running. The inevitable tyre failures begun on lap 22 when Michael Caruso struggled around the track with a blown right rear, though more were to come.
The race weekend took a turn for the worst for Triple Eight when Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup suffered punctures on back-to-back laps. The following Safety Car to clean up debris allowed the majority of the field to take service as double stacking nearly became an issue for Coulthard as he narrowly squeezed through on Waters. Many drivers used the long duration of the Safety Car to pit twice.
This plan came undone for Coulthard as he was deemed to have run a red light at pit exit and was given a drive through penalty. Things didn’t improve for McLaughlin as he had to take his second pit stop during green conditions, dropping him to 22nd.
Craig Lowndes was in the box seat to challenge for the lead, but a tyre let go approaching turn four and ended his chances. Courtney also had a strong performance until strategy worked against him and he had to pit before race end.
The three Nissan Altimas were glued together in the closing stages, but it ended in tears for Michael Caruso and Todd Kelly, who clashed at turn four allowing Rick Kelly to pass both. There was no stopping Mostert, however, who took the win by just under 3s, ahead of teammate Winterbottom and Reynolds.
Date posted: April 23, 2017