V8SC | Reynolds returns to the winners circle

2015 V8 Supercars Championship | Skycity Triple Crown Darwin – Supersprints

Article and Images by Rhys Vandersyde

Hidden Valley Raceway – Sunday

Darwin Sunday

As per the forecast, the Northern Territory turned on sensational weather for the final day of action at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway. With the 200 kilometre Race 15 set to take place during the hottest part of the day, driver’s fitness and patience would be tested to the extreme.

It was a long night for the race stewards sorting out the mess that happened during Race 13 and 14 yesterday with 4 drivers receiving championship points penalties. Race 13 saw both Red Bull Racing Australia drivers penalised for incidents with Jamie Whincup deducted 25 points and Craig Lowndes losing 15.

Team BOC’s Jason Bright lost a total of 50 championship points after an incident in each race while Holden Racing Team’s James Courtney was penalised 25 point for his part in the Shane Van Gisbergen and Garth Tander accident in the closing laps of Race 13.

Qualifying Race 15

Early on in the 20 minute qualifying session for Race 15 the pace was electrifying as Dale Wood (GB Galvanising Racing) eclipsed yesterday’s pole time (for the hard tyre qualifying session) on his opening lap on used tyres.

Wood’s time was a display of what was to come when his teammate Fabian Coulthard (Freightliner Racing), locked in a 1:06.38 before returning to the pits to try again on fresh new tyres.

With just five minutes to go in the session, the track was strangely quiet with teams in the pits making adjustments and bolted on fresh tyres. Within seconds pit lane was a hive of activity with teams giving themselves two laps to set their best time.

The Ford of David Reynolds (Bottle-O Racing) was the best of the session with a 1:06.25 and although Coulthard was able to better his earlier time, his time was only good enough for second with Van Gisbergen (Team Darrell Lea) and Chaz Mostert (Pepsi Max Crew) making up the second row of the grid.

Race 15

It was a case to third time lucky for Coulthard as he launched off the line and managed to clear Reynolds well before turn one. With harsh championship penalties handed out the night before, the rest of the field were on their best behaviour with everyone making it through the first lap without issue.

In an effort to skip lap traffic, Red Bull Racing Australia’s Whincup changed his race strategy early and elected to pull in to the pits on the second lap to complete his first pit stop as did Nissan’s Michael Caruso and Todd Kelly pitting a couple of laps later.

Coulthard’s perfect start wouldn’t be completely trouble free by making a mistake at turn five when sent him onto the grass handing the lead to Reynolds and pushing Coulthard back into third.

Race leaders took to pit lane on lap 19 with Reynolds emerging the leader after a smooth pit stop by his ProDrive Racing Australia team.

With 25 laps to go Reynolds made his own mistake at turn five however he had a significant gap and managed to recover without losing a place.

With 10 laps to go it was still Reynolds out in front, with a handy gap over Mostert and Coulthard fighting over second and third.

Images by Rhys Vandersyde

Little changed in the closing laps of the race with Reynolds crossing the finish line an taking the win for Ford. Mostert was able to hold out a last lap challenge by Coulthard to finish second and Coulthard crossing the line in the best placed Holden in third.

Scott McLaughlin (Wilson Security Racing GRM) was the best of the other manufacturers, finishing just outside the top ten (11th) in his Volvo S60. Rick Kelly (Jack Daniels Racing) was the best of the Nissan Altima’s in thirteenth while the chequered flag ended a shocking run for the Erebus Motorsport Mercedes with Ashley Walsh submitting a DNF and Will Davison finishing in 24th place.

Championship

Little has changed at the top of the Championship table with Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew) still in the lead with 1165 points followed by Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Australia) 1070 points and Fabian Coulthard (Freightliner Racing) on 1010 points.

A successful and consistent weekend for Winterbottom’s teammate Chaz Mostert moves him up into fourth in the championship standings.

Position Driver Points
1  Mark Winterbottom 1165
2  Craig Lowndes 1070
3  Fabian Coulthard 1010
4  Chaz Mostert  991
5  Shane Van Gisbergen  940
6  James Courtney  935
7  David Reynolds  925
8  Jamie Whincup  879
9  Garth Tander  870
10  Rick Kelly  771
11  Todd Kelly  678
12  Tim Slade  635
13  Jason Bright  634
14  Michael Caruso  624
15  Nick Percat  623
16  Will Davison  601
17  James Moffat  585
18  Scott McLaughlin  573
19  Dale Wood  543
20  Lee Holdsworth  503
21  Tim Blanchard  452
22  David Wall  435
23  Scott Pye  431
24  Andre Heimgartner  422
25  Ashley Walsh  325
26  Marcos Ambrose  125

Next Championship Round

Stay tuned to MyDrive for V8 Supercars action when the Championship hits the streets of Townsville from the 19th of July.

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