No one could get near Chaz Mostert. Picture: Getty Images
No one could get near Chaz Mostert. Picture: Getty Images

Mostert blitzes GC600, McLaughlin takes series lead

THE Gold Coast 600 has provided another dose of championship carnage, with the title battle swinging Scott McLaughlin's way in a race blitzed by Chaz Mostert.

Shane van Gisbergen entered his home round as championship leader but endured a horror day, ruining his top-10 shootout lap by cutting a kerb and then watching on as co-driver Earl Bamber received a drive-through penalty in the race for an unsafe release in the pit lane.

That reprimand came simultaneously with the same punishment for the same crime for the sister Red Bull Holden Racing Team car of Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell.

Those unsafe releases had come amid a flurry of pit stops triggered when the safety was called after Will Brown crashed at the first chicane and was then collected by Steve Owen, sending both out of the race.

Shane van Gisbergen has lost the Supercars series lead.
Shane van Gisbergen has lost the Supercars series lead.

Between the chaos, McLaughlin and his co-driver Alex Premat quietly went about their business, collecting a good haul of points with a fifth-place finish to snatch the series lead.

The No.17 DJR Team Penske driver qualified on pole position and then survived an early scare when Premat was nudged into the wall by Dumbrell.

McLaughlin's teammate Fabian Coulthard, however, was somewhat sacrificed for the result.

Coulthard and Tony D'Alberto were in the hunt early until being short-fuelled during the first lot of pit stops in order to not hold up McLaughlin, who was directly behind him.

Scott McLaughlin. Picture: Tim Hunter
Scott McLaughlin. Picture: Tim Hunter

It forced both No.12 drivers to heavily save fuel, which in turn caused them to plummet down to 11th.

Outside of Mostert's performance, one of the highlights of the day was a stellar scrap between James Courtney and Craig Lowndes as they battled for second place in the last stint of the race.

Lowndes had started in 21st position - after copping a penalty for impeding Richie Stanaway in qualifying - but enjoyed an excellent race underpinned by strategy and overtaking.

"The safety car came out perfectly when we needed it," Lowndes said with a smile.

Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards moved a step closer to sealing the Enduro Cup. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards moved a step closer to sealing the Enduro Cup. Picture: Glenn Hampson

By the latter stages, he was attacking Courtney lap after lap, but the Walkinshaw Andretti United driver refused to budge.

Lowndes eventually squeezed by, with Courtney hanging on for third just ahead of David Reynolds.

Van Gisbergen raced aggressively to recover to 10th by the end, keeping McLaughlin's points advantage to 14.

Mostert and James Moffat were barely troubled in a sublime drive to mark Tickford Racing's first victory of what has been a tough year.

"Don't talk to me, talk to him (Moffat). He drove the wheels off it and gave it back to me in a good position," Mostert said.

RACE RESULTS

1. Chaz Mostert/James Moffat

2. Craig Lowndes/Steven Richards

3. James Courtney/Jack Perkins

4. David Reynolds/Luke Youlden

5. Scott McLaughlin/Alex Premat

6. Nick Percat/Macauley Jones

7. Mark Winterbottom/Dean Canto

8. Cameron Waters/David Russell

9. Garth Tander/Chris Pither

10. Shane van Gisbergen/Earl Bamber



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