MELBOURNE, Australia - The Ford Mustang has recorded another race victory and added to its Armor All Pole Position count following an event-filled contest at Round 8 of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, the Watpac Townsville 400. The weekend saw Scott McLaughlin from Shell V-Power Racing win Saturday’s Race 17 to maintain a solid championship lead, while Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters achieved his first Pole Position of the season ahead of a podium finish in Sunday’s Race 18, an event-filled contest that was completed under the Vodafone Ford Mustang Safety Car.
The Watpac Townsville 400 saw two 200km races, each 70 laps, with Mustang teams pushed by strong rivals across the weekend, and adverse weather conditions on Sunday with uncharacteristic rain at the North Queensland street circuit. Despite this, both Mustang teams showed competitive performances in challenging conditions.
“A strong result in Townsville, especially given the pace shown by our rivals on Saturday, who really pushed us, and then the chaotic conditions faced on Sunday,” said Kay Hart, President and CEO, Ford Australia and New Zealand. “A great win for Scott and Shell V-Power Racing on Saturday, and a stunning pole on Sunday for Cam Waters – his first in a Tickford Racing Mustang – showed the great speed and resilience across both Mustang teams. Fitting for Fabian Coulthard, too, finishing second to be the first Mustang home in his 400th Supercars race.”
McLaughlin’s Race 17 win on Saturday for Shell V-Power Racing in the #17 Mustang came from third on the grid, after Chaz Mostert in the #55 Supercheap Auto Tickford Racing Mustang set second-fastest time in qualifying showing a spread of speed across Mustang teams. The race saw McLaughlin carry out a comprehensive, calculated drive to victory, with Mostert finishing in third to ensure two Mustangs finished on the podium.
Qualifying ahead of Sunday’s Race 18 saw Cameron Waters achieve his fourth career pole – and his first in a Mustang – after setting the fastest time in the Armor All Top Ten Shootout in the #6 Monster Energy Racing Tickford Mustang. McLaughlin’s second in the Shootout made it an all-Mustang front row, with four Mustangs qualifying in the Top Ten with Shell V-Power’s Fabian Coulthard fifth and Lee Holdsworth’s Bottle-O Tickford Mustang eighth.
Race 18 started in the rain, and concluded under the Vodafone Ford Mustang Safety Car – deployed twice during the race – following a pit-lane incident. The weather caused a number of on-track incidents, making strategy all the more challenging in the changeable surroundings and repeated use of the Ford Performance Ranger Raptor Recovery Vehicle.
"Sunday's race was held in some extremely difficult conditions, in fact the first ever wet race in Townsville,” said Shell V-Power Racing Team Principal and co-owner, Dr Ryan Story. “Scott was unlucky to get taken out early in the race, however he and the team mounted a fantastic recovery to minimise the damage and maintain a very strong championship lead. Fabian did a great job in his 400th race, managing the conditions brilliantly to land himself on the podium. Overall it was another very strong weekend for the team, with another win for Scott on Saturday, and we now head to Queensland Raceway for our home race."
Coulthard’s well-fought second place in Race 18 saw him finish ahead of Cameron Waters, making it another double-podium for Mustang between Shell V-Power Racing and Tickford Racing, with Mustang filling four of the six podium places over the weekend.
“We saw a bit of everything at this race, but all four of our Mustangs showed consistent speed, which we’ve carried for the last two rounds,” said Tickford Racing Team Principal and owner, Rod Nash. “From the moment the cars were unloaded, we saw pace, with Lee impressive in Friday’s practice. Our cars were the quickest Mustangs in qualifying for both days, with Chaz qualifying second for Saturday and then for Cam to get pole on Sunday – that really builds our confidence and shows that the hard work is paying off,” said Nash.
“We still have to convert these into strong race results more often, but given Sunday’s crazy race, the guys drove well to grab a podium for Cam, and Chaz’s effort through the field was also positive. Some tough luck for Will, but a lot of good points overall for the team to take to Ipswich in a few weeks’ time. Great effort by the Tickford Racing Team to keep all four cars in the Top 10 of the championship.”
Scott McLaughlin leads the Drivers’ Championship in the #17 Mustang, with 2168 points, ahead of Shell V-Power Racing teammate Fabian Coulthard (1876 points). Chaz Mostert sits in fourth place (1640), Cameron Waters in seventh (1396), Will Davison ninth (1274) and Lee Holdsworth tenth (1224 points).
Shell V-Power Racing leads the Teams Championship on 3984 points, with The Bottle-O/Supercheap Auto Tickford Racing third (2864) and Monster Energy Racing fifth (2640).
Round 9 of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will be held between 26–28 July with the Century Batteries Ipswich SuperSprint at Queensland Raceway, southwest of Brisbane. Tickets can be purchased via supercars.com.au.