Van Gisbergen denied clean sweep by compatriot, reports Mark Fattore.
Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin has taken maximum advantage of double points on offer in the final race to emerge victorious in the MSS Security V8 Supercars Challenge at the 2014 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
In a thunderous and action-packed finish to the four-race program at Albert Park, McLaughlin hung tough in his Volvo S60 over the closing laps, fending off the Holden Commodore of Craig Lowndes to win by 1.09 seconds.
It was the first time a Volvo had won at Albert Park in 17 years, with Jim Richards the last driver to achieve the feat way back in the old two-litre touring car era.
McLaughlin’s win saw him catapult his way up three spots to overall honours at Albert Park, with the double points on offer in the last race opening the door for the New Zealander.
He finished on 329 points after the four races, ahead of Lowndes (319), Michael Caruso (Nissan Altima, 299), Fabian Coulthard (Commodore, 298) and Shane Van Gisbergen (Commodore, 287).
Caruso was third in race four, Garth Tander (Commodore) fourth and Coulthard fifth, while it was a shocker for Van Gisbergen as he inexplicably limped home in 14th after starting the 12-lapper seeking to become the first driver to achieve an Albert Park clean sweep since Garth Tander in 2008.
And no-one took greater advantage of Van Gisbergen’s meltdown than a delighted McLaughlin.
“The team made some changes overnight to the Volvo and gave me an absolute rocket-ship,” said McLaughlin.
“I got enough of a gap in that race to save my tyres a little bit in case the Safety Car came out, and that’s what happened.
“In the restart, I thought I was gone at one stage in my battle with Lowndes, but I held on. It’s a huge win for this team – morale-building and something we will never forget.”
McLaughlin was a five-second leader over Lowndes before the Safety Car was brought out when the expired Altima of Todd Kelly found itself in an awkward position on the circuit.
Less than 30 seconds into the restart the tale of Kelly woe continued when Rick’s Altima got all out of shape in typically hectic group situation, also managing to add Jamie Whincup (Commodore) and James Moffatt (Altima) as victims.
All three failed to finish, as well as Robert Dahlgren (S60). Meanwhile, Dale Wood (Commodore) and Chaz Mostert (Ford Falcon) didn’t front the starter after crashes in race three.
FINAL V8 SUPERCAR CHALLENGE POINTS
- 1 Scott McLaughlin, Volvo 329
- 2 Craig Lowndes, Commodore 319
- 3 Michael Caruso, Altima 299
- 4 Fabian Coulthard, Commodore 298
- 5 Shane Van Gisbergen, Commodore 287
- 6 Garth Tander, Commodore 277
- 7 Mark Winterbottom, Falcon 205
- 8 Will Davison E63 AMG 196
- 9 James Courtney, Commodore172
- 10 Tim Slade, Commodore 172