Mostert/Moffat dominate Race 1, drama for Pink Bulls

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The Tickford pair have been unstoppable within the 300-kilometre opener, Moffat storming into the lead on Lap 36 earlier than handing over to Mostert with a wholesome lead.

From there Mostert was in a position to cruise to his and Tickford’s first race win of what is been a troublesome season, forward of Craig Lowndes/Steve Richards and James Courtney/Jack Perkins.

“James drove the wheels off it and gave it again in an excellent place,” mentioned Mostert.

“I simply tried to handle the hole and take care of the automotive.

“It’s been a tricky 12 months, it actually has, and [Moffat] is unbelievable. We’re fortunate to have him.”

Regardless of ending simply fifth it proved to be a productive afternoon for McLaughlin as properly, the Penske Ford driver taking on the factors lead because of Shane van Gisbergen’s automotive being slapped with a drive-through penalty for an unsafe pit launch early within the race.

That got here as a part of a double whammy for Triple Eight, the then-race-leading #1 Pink Bull Holden additionally penalised for an unsafe launch throughout the identical spherical of stops.

It was McLaughlin’s co-driver Alex Premat acquired one of the best of the beginning from pole, however the Frenchman had mirrors stuffed with Paul Dumbrell from the phrase go.

It did not take Dumbrell lengthy to behave, both, jamming the #1 Pink Bull Holden up the within of the Penske Ford on the run to Flip 12 on the second lap.

Premat initially left room, earlier than making a late try to shut the door. The pair clashed, Dumbrell streaking into the lead because the Shell Falcon bounced harmlessly off the skin wall and dropped again to fifth.

The problem was investigated on the spot by stewards, who shortly deemed there can be no additional motion.

That left Dumbrell main Tony D’Alberto throughout the primary stint, which was delivered to an abrupt finish when Erebus driver Will Brown crashed closely on the best way out of the primary chicane on Lap 23.

The ensuing Security Automobile sparked an all-in spherical of stops, which swung the race again in favour of DJR Group Penske.

The Penske crew opted to short-fill D’Alberto, which means he was clear if the field by the point Premat rolled in behind him. Triple Eight, nonetheless, acquired all of it flawed. Taking up extra gasoline, Dumbrell occupied the field lengthy sufficient to depart Earl Bamber ready within the lane.

And when the group did get Dumbrell shifting once more, they launched him straight into the facet of James Moffat within the Tickford Ford. To make issues worse, Bamber was then fed again into the lane proper in entrance of Garry Jacobson’s Nissan.

Unsurprisingly, each Pink Bull Holdens have been swiftly slapped with drive-through penalties that allow them each simply exterior the Prime 20.

After the Lap 28 restart it was D’Alberto main Moffat, earlier than the pair swapped locations eight laps later as D’Alberto appeared to roll out of the throttle on the primary straight.

Because the race neared its halfway level Moffat began to shortly construct on what had been a small margin over the chasing pack. He would find yourself greater than eight seconds down the highway by the point he pitted handy over to Mostert on Lap 62.

On the again finish of the second stint there was spirited battle for second between D’Alberto, Luke Youlden, and Premat.

But it surely was the automotive sitting fifth, Steve Richards within the #888 Holden, that was the true shock given it had began the race method again in 21st.

The important thing was the choice to begin Craig Lowndes in opposition to a area of co-drivers, the veteran charging via the sphere earlier than handing over to Richards.

Issues acquired even higher for the #888 entry throughout the second spherical of stops. Leaping again within the automotive, Lowndes emerged forward of David Reynolds and McLaughlin, and solely behind chief Mostert and an undercutting James Courtney.

Whereas Courtney – who took over from sixth-placed co-driver Jack Perkins on Lap 57 – and Lowndes have been the winners of the ultimate stops, the loser was Fabian Coulthard. Having changed D’Alberto on Lap 56, he discovered himself behind the Prime 10 for the ultimate stint and out of competition for the rostrum.

There was no stopping Mostert from there, however there was an intriguing battle over second place as Lowndes made an enormous play to get by Courtney with 20 laps to go.

The pair even traded paint at Flip 12 a few occasions, earlier than Lowndes determined to carry again and let Courtney run out of tyre life.

It labored completely, Lowndes in a position to barge previous the #25 Holden for second with 5 laps to go.

Reynolds virtually acquired via as properly, Courtney having to work laborious to hold on to the ultimate spot on the rostrum.

Van Gisbergen was one of the best of the recovering Pink Bulls, a late cost leaving him 10th. Whincup did not fairly make the identical headway, solely getting so far as 14th.

Whereas spectacular over the ultimate 10 laps, van Gisbergen could not fairly do sufficient to hold onto the sequence lead. That now belongs to McLaughlin, who has a 14-point benefit.

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