25 Feb 2020
Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin shared the spoils as the 2020 Supercars season got underway in Adelaide.
Race one was a lights-to-flag affair for seven-time champion Whincup. The Triple Eight Holden driver began the race on pole and made light work of fellow front row starter David Reynolds to lead by 0.8 seconds at the end of lap one.
At the end of the 78 lap race he won by 5.2 seconds over McLaughlin, who had to battle his way through the field after starting from seventh on the grid.
McLaughlin was helped by pitting early in the first stint, much like Shane van Gisbergen who, after starting sixth on the grid, got by Will Davison in the first round of pit stops, then David Reynolds in the second. He closed on compatriot McLaughlin in the final part of the race, but was unable to get by, settling for third.
Fourth place went to Reynolds, while Davison completed the top five. Davison, was under serious pressure from Chaz Mostert after he made his first pit stop, but a tap from Cameron Waters on the Walkinshaw Andretti United driver allowed Davison to break free.
Waters eventually got by Mostert for sixth, with Mostert taking seventh. Mark Winterbottom made up one position on his starting spot to take eighth, while Rick Kelly and Fabian Coulthard completed the top-10.
There were two retirements from Race One – Garry Jacobson and James Courtney who ran wide at turn eight while chasing down Andre Heimgartner and hit the wall hard. The lap 21 incident was a big blow for the Team Sydeny driver, who was the fastest car on track at that point.
In race two it was the other Triple Eight Commodore of van Gisbergen that started on pole, and again it looked to be a victory for the Red Bull-backed team, until everything fell apart late on.
McLaughlin made the better start to lead into turn one, but during the first round of pit stops McLaughlin’s DJR Team Penske team – which was double stacking him with team mate Coulthard – allowed van Gisbergen to exit before him.
The incident looked to have handed the win to van Gisbergen, until the Holden driver ran into trouble of his own during his second pit stop. During refueling, the hose was pulled from the car early, causing him to be severely under-fuelled.
That wasn’t the undoing of van Gisbergen’s race though, although he would’ve unlikely got to the end of the race without a third pit stop. After emerging from the pits in third place, van Gisbergen was fighting for position with Waters when his front right suspension failed, putting him out of the race and handing the win to McLaughlin.
Mostert took second after van Gisbergen’s retirement, with Waters taking the final spot on the podium ahead of Davison and race one winner Whincup.
Sixth went to Tickford driver Lee Holdsworth, with Nick Percat, Reynolds, Coulthard, and Heimgartner completed the top-10.
Again there were two retirements, with Anton de Pasquale and Scott Pye falling victim to a lap one pileup started after de Pasquale was hit by his Erebus team mate Reynolds.
McLaughlin’s double podium means that he leaves Adelaide with the points lead, 17 points clear of Whincup. After his retirement in race two, van Gisbergen is down in 13th as the series heads to Melbourne next month to support the Australian Grand Prix.