Fabian Coulthard – No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Top 15 Shootout: 3rd (Fastest Lap: 1m07.0315s)
Race 13 – 6th (Fastest Lap: 1m8.6409s)

Scott McLaughlin – No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Top 15 Shootout: 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m06.8589s)
Race 13 – 20th (Fastest Lap: 1m9.0256s)

It was a wild opening race at Darwin Triple Crown and while Coulthard finished P6, a post-race time penalty for Championship leader McLaughlin saw him finish in P20.

Tyre strategy was again the key talking point in the opening race with teams allocated three sets of the Dunlop hard tyre compound and two sets of the soft compound for the whole weekend.

Both McLaughlin and Coulthard opted to start the 38-lap race on the hard tyre. Whincup got a great start on his soft tyres and took the lead from McLaughlin before the first corner. Then both drivers lost an additional two spots to cars on the softer compound tyre.

A safety car was called on lap 5 after a chaotic incident that involved several cars. This saw pit lane burst into life as the entire field completed their compulsory stop. While Coulthard had to double-stack behind McLaughlin, his wait time was brief. They both took a fresh set of hard tyres.

The restart came on lap 9, but a mistake by McLaughlin saw him pass Courtney before the control line and he was handed a 15-second post-race time penalty.

On lap 16 McLaughlin was P5 and Coulthard P6 but with Coulthard showing good pace, McLaughlin let him past to chase Mark Winterbottom for a potential podium.

On lap 23, the BJR entry driven by Jones hit the wall and again the safety car was called. Eleven laps were remaining at the restart and Coulthard had his eyes set on Winterbottom who was just ahead and also on hard tyres. But cars behind on soft tyres were quicker and relegated Coulthard to P7. McLaughlin also lost track position and fell back to P8.

With the race time-certain, only 34 of the 38 laps were completed – Coulthard crossed the finish line in P7 but a 15-second post-race time penalty given to Whincup meant Coulthard was awarded P6. McLaughlin’s official finishing position was P20 after his 15-second penalty added to his race time.

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