Melbourne V8 Supercars: Fabian Coulthard takes first victory
|By Edd Straw||Friday, March 15th 2013, 01:34 GMT|
Fabian Coulthard claimed his maiden V8 Supercars victory in the opening race of the non-championship event supporting the Australian Grand Prix.
The 30-year-old Holden driver converted his first pole position into the lead at the start of the 12-lap race.
But his hopes of winning took a big hit when he lost the lead during the flurry of safety car pitstops triggered by Alex Premat crashing at Turn 1 on the second lap after hitting Lee Holdsworth's Erebus Mercedes as both were exiting the pits.
At the lap five restart, Tekno Autosports Holden driver Shane van Gisbergen led, chased by Brad Jones Racing's Jason Bright, who had qualified second but started fourth after a penalty for completing a lap after the chequered flag in Thursday practice, and Triple 8's Craig Lowndes.
Coulthard took the restart fourth, but it did not take him long to dispatch Lowndes, passing him up the inside into Turn 3 moments after the green flag flew.
Two laps later Coulthard passed team-mate Bright into Turn 3 to take second and immediately set about carving into van Gisbergen's lead.
He quickly caught van Gisbergen, who held firm until the penultimate lap when his compatriot finally managed to prise open the door into Turn 3, passing him on the inside.
Bright attempted to follow Coulthard through, but was unable to, only to be gifted second place when van Gisbergen's Holden retired later that lap with gearbox issues.
Will Davison had a relatively quiet run to third, but behind him Jamie Whincup prevailed in a fraught late-race battle with team-mate Lowndes to take fourth, with the pair at one stage making contact on the run out of Turn 10.
Lowndes held on to fifth by the slenderest of margins, with both Scott McLaughlin and Mark Winterbottom pulling alongside him as he took the chequered flag.
Further back, Nissan got two cars in the top 10, as James Moffat and Rick Kelly took eighth and 10th.
Coulthard's victory gives him an early lead in the quadruple-header event, with the overall event winner decided based on points awarded in each race.
Results - 12 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Fabian Coulthard Brad Jones Holden 25m14.8756s 2. Jason Bright Brad Jones Holden + 1.7467s 3. Will Davison FPR Ford + 4.6233s 4. Jamie Whincup Triple 8 Holden + 6.4004s 5. Craig Lowndes Triple 8 Holden + 7.1534s 6. Scott McLaughlin GRM Holden + 7.1716s 7. Mark Winterbottom FPR Ford + 7.2767s 8. James Moffat Nissan + 8.4223s 9. Garth Tander HRT Holden + 14.3048s 10. Rick Kelly Nissan + 14.5232s 11. James Courtney HRT Holden + 15.5583s 12. Todd Kelly Nissan + 15.7877s 13. Jonothan Webb Tekno Holden + 15.9691s 14. David Reynolds Rod Nash/FPR Ford + 18.1643s 15. Tim Blanchard DJR Ford + 19.2969s 16. Michael Caruso Nissan + 22.3795s 17. Russell Ingall Walkinshaw/HRT Holden + 23.0977s 18. Dean Fiore Dumbrell Holden + 23.2954s 19. Lee Holdsworth Erebus Mercedes + 26.1491s 20. David Wall Britek/BJR Holden + 26.5788s 21. Alex Davison Schwerkolt/FPR Ford + 27.5962s 22. Scott Pye Dumbrell Holden + 28.6292s 23. Tim Slade Rosenberg/Erebus Mercedes + 29.9848s 24. Maro Engel Erebus Mercedes + 34.2795s 25. Jonny Reid DJR Ford + 40.2330s Retirements: Shane van Gisbergen Tekno Holden 10 laps Alexandre Premat GRM Holden 1 lap Tony D'Alberto D'Alberto Holden 0 laps