The Virgin Australia Supercars Championships returns to the Northern Territory for its annual visit to the BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway.
It’s been a few weeks since competitors last raced, and with this round the only stop during the month of June, drivers and teams will be keen to get the most out of the weekend.
Since last time:
Stanaway to stay away
Richie Stanaway has been ruled out of this weekend’s BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown following a setback during recovery from an ongoing neck injury.
Despite the initial injury stemming from a broken back seven years ago, his neck flared up during last month’s Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint, forcing him out of the second race.
His replacement, 2018 Dunlop Super2 Series champion Chris Pither, came into the race and finished 14th, and the New Zealander will once again be the man to sit in Stanaway’s seat for this weekend’s outing.
While scans revealed Stanaway had a bulging disc, the diagnosis revealed it could be treated without surgery, meaning it is likely he will return at Townsville.
BJR embrace 2019 Wildcard
Brad Jones Racing (BJR) has opted to continue its Wildcard Program for 2019 with youngster Jack Smith getting another run in the main game this weekend.
The Triple Crown will be Smith’s third race this season, with the teenager already competing at Symmons Plains and Winton earlier this year.
It will be a completely new experience for the Dunlop Super2 driver, with the 19-year-old having never raced at Hidden Valley, making the weekend a great learning experience for him.
Despite Smith enduring a difficult start to life at the top level, his best result being 21st in Winton, the Victorian is still keen to continue his development and is using the experiences as a stepping stone to becoming a Supercars enduro co-driver.
Another round, another pair of wins for reigning champion as Scott McLaughlin extended his lead to more than 200 points at Winton.
While the Kiwi continues to dominate the Championship, his teammate Fabian Coulthard didn’t have a happy round last time out, finishing 15th in the first race before finishing behind McLaughlin in the second.
The battle for outright third is a lot closer with four drivers in the hunt - two top-five finishes for David Reynolds in Winton brought him closer to Shane van Gisbergen.
Chaz Mostert once again started the Winton round on a high, picking up the fastest practice time and the Armour All Pole position, but lost the first race by just two seconds. His 10th place in race two saw him drop behind Jamie Whincup in the standings.
A sixth place finish for Cameron Waters and two top-10 finishes to Nick Percat last month saw both drivers move up the leaderboard at the expense of Will Davison and Tim Slade.
Despite dropping to 10th, Slade still holds a solid buffer over the 11th placed Mark Winterbottom, with 86 points separating the two Holden drivers.
Championship Top 10
1 Scott McLaughlin 1646 points
2 Fabian Coulthard 1402
3 Shane van Gisbergen 1231
4 David Reynolds 1220
5 Jamie Whincup 1168
6 Chaz Mostert 1160
7 Nick Percat 1057
8 Cameron Waters 985
9 Will Davison 983
10 Tim Slade 972
This round last year
Pole: David Reynolds
Winner: Scott McLaughlin
Runner Up: Shane van Gisbergen
Third: David Reynolds
Pole: Rick Kelly
Winner: David Reynolds
Runner Up: Scott McLaughlin
Third: Jamie Whincup
#2 Holden ZB - Scott Pye
#3 Nissan Altima - Garry Jacobson
#4 Holden ZB – Jack Smith (wildcard)
#5 Ford Mustang - Lee Holdsworth
#6 Ford Mustang - Cameron Waters
#7 Nissan Altima - Andre Heimgartner
#8 Holden ZB - Nick Percat
#9 Holden ZB - David Reynolds
#12 Ford Mustang - Fabian Coulthard
#14 Holden ZB - Tim Slade
#15 Nissan Altima - Rick Kelly
#17 Ford Mustang - Scott McLaughlin
#18 Holden ZB - Mark Winterbottom
#19 Holden ZB - Jack Le Brocq
#21 Holden ZB - Macauley Jones
#22 Holden ZB - James Courtney
#23 Ford GT - Will Davison
#33 Holden ZB - Chris Pither
#34 Holden ZB - James Golding
#35 Holden ZB - Todd Hazelwood
#55 Ford Mustang - Chaz Mostert
#78 Nissan Altima - Simona De Silvestro
#88 Holden ZB - Jamie Whincup
#97 Holden ZB - Shane van Gisbergen
#99 Holden ZB - Anton De Pasquale
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Aussie Racing Cars
Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup Australia
Friday 14 June
11:40 – 12:10 Practice 1
14:15 – 14:45 Practice 2
Saturday 15 June
11:20 – 11:50 Practice 3
13:45 – 14:25 ARMOR ALL Qualifying – Race 15
16:45 – 15:45 Race 15
Sunday 16 June
09.55 – 10.15 ARMOR ALL Qualifying - Race 16
11:35 – 12:05 ARMOR ALL Top Ten Shootout - Race 16
14:00 - 15:30 Race 16
(All times listed are NT local times)