Supercars young gun Chaz Mostert has set up a showdown with the on-fire Scott McLaughlin with a golden performance in the opening race of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 at the Australian Grand Prix.
McLaughlin won his third straight race to open the 2019 season, but it was a twenty-second to fifth performance by Mostert which caught the eye in the first of four races this weekend.
It was a bitter sweet victory for Christchurch born McLaughlin who was devastated by the news which unfolded in his home country earlier in the day.
The separate qualifying sessions for each race means Mostert will start alongside McLaughlin in the second race tomorrow and again in the final race on Sunday as he attempts to break the Shell V-Power racers’ winning stranglehold.
Like he was in Adelaide in the season opener Mostert was extremely quick but his poor qualifying for the first race cost him the opportunity to dice with the winners.
He made it up the grid in lightning pace making up a monster 17 places from start to finish.
“It’s probably a bit like Adelaide,” he said. “I feel like we have a much better race car than we do in qualifying so if we can unlock some qualifying speed then we might be someone to beat out there.
“Last year we struggled with race pace and now we’ve turned the thing into a bit of a monster in race conditions. I wish we could run full tanks all the time, the car felt pretty good.
“I’m pretty chuffed to get to fifth to be honest.”
McLaughlin was not headed in the race as he and team-mate Fabian Coulthard cleared away. Coulthard pitted early to avoid any pit lane issues, leaving the way clear for McLaughlin to claim his third straight victory to start the year.
Will Davison continued his good start to the year with fourth in the Milwaukee Mustang.
Tim Slade was the same with sixth in the Freightliner Commodore ahead of James Courtney and Jamie Whincup.
Earlier Mostert snapped McLaughlin’s run of straight ARMOR ALL Pole Positions in the final qualifying session of the weekend.
McLaughlin led the way in both 10-minute sessions on Thursday, and continued that form with another commanding performance on Friday afternoon.
It took his Supercars pole tally to 50, and the defending Supercars Champion led the way into the closing stages of the final 10-minute hitout with a 1:54.3655s.
SUPERCARS ON TRACK TIMES THIS WEEKEND (ALL LOCAL TIME):
- 12:50pm – 1:20pm – RACE TWO – Beaurepaires Melbourne 400
- 6:30pm – 7:30pm – RACE THREE – Beaurepaires Melbourne 400
- 1:35pm – 2:05pm – RACE FOUR – Beaurepaires Melbourne 400
Every practice, qualifying and race session of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is broadcast live in high definition on Fox Sports within Australia.
On free to air television within Australia, Network Ten will cover the event live on TEN Bold on Friday from 11:30am – 7:00pm AEDT and on TEN from 11:00am – 7:30pm AEDT on Saturday and 11:00am – 6:00pm AEDT on Sunday.
Supercars Trackside featuring all the latest news and views from the Supercars Paddock will air on Sunday from 7:00pm – 8:00pm on Fox Sports 506 HD.
Within New Zealand SKY SPORTS covers the championship live in HD. Outside of Australia and New Zealand you can follow the action with the SuperView live streaming product. For the full TV Schedule for each state, head to supercars.com/tv-schedule.