6 Jul 2014

NZ trio maintain V8 Supercars challenge in Townsville

8:17 am on 6 July 2014

It was solid but far from spectacular for the New Zealand trio of Fabian Coulthard, Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin in the V8 Supercars Championship in Townsville.

The three drivers all qualified strongly, but all had issues in a wild day's racing that cost them podium opportunities.

In the end only Coulthard managed a podium - he was third in the second race after starting from pole, which was his third of the season.

A mistake by Scott McLaughlin's Volvo team in the pits presented Jamie Whincup with the lead after starting 10th on the grid in the opening 250km race.

But the second 250km race was all Holden Racing Team with a one-two finish led by Garth Tander, who scored his first victory for the year.

McLaughlin's hopes of a podium in the first race were dashed with an aggressive move from Will Davison late in the race, man-handling the New Zealand driver from third back to sixth, while a pitlane infringement cost him any chance in the second race.

Coulthard's team messed up the qualifying and a pit stop in the first race while he was strong in the second, with van Gisbergen holding a fast car in both races, but tyre wear meant he was never able to press his way on to the podium.

However his fifth and fourth places saw him cement his spot in sixth place in the championship, while Coulthard remains in fourth and McLaughlin moves up to seventh to continue the strongest ever showing by New Zealand drivers in the championship.