09/10/2017

Image: 

Getty Images

Caption: 

Fabian Coulthard during practice ahead of the Bathurst 1000

Category: 


Amid the results from yesterday's chaotic Bathurst 1000, the championship order and PIRTEK Enduro Cup rankings got comprehensively shuffled.

With race polesitter Scott McLaughlin eliminated early with mechanical issues, it appeared that Red Bull Holden Racing Team pilot Jamie Whincup would be able to take the points lead. But then when he too succumbed to mechanical woes, Coulthard became the lead beneficiary.

"I think if you sat me down before Bathurst and said we'd leave here leading the championship, leading the PIRTEK Enduro Cup, we would've taken that with both hands," said Coulthard.

"It's unfortunate for the other guys. We just needed to make the most of our opportunities, pick our battles, and get to the finish line."

The Kiwi now leads the standings on 2431 points; 91 points ahead of Jamie Whincup in second and 97 points ahead of Scott McLaughlin in third. He and co-driver Tony D'Alberto also lead the Enduro Cup points.

The pair recovered from being a lap down to their ultimate Bathurst 1000 finishing slot of third after avoiding the train of incidents in the closing 30 laps, as well as maintaining their car pace and the team's fuel strategy. The duo looked like potential winners as other cars struggled for fuel mileage, but the frequent appearances from the Supercars pace car chopped those thoughts down.

"We just bided our time. Obviously Nick [Percat] made a mistake and we managed to finish on the podium. Tony did a fantastic job, everyone at Shell V-Power Racing. Fantastic strategy, fast car, and we came from a lap down. So it's a credit to everyone.

"We gave it a good crack, but it's very tough ... obviously with the dry line so there's pretty much just one track. If you go off it you're in the water, so it was pretty hard to pass. "

As one of three New Zealanders vying for the lead of the standings, Coulthard is cautious of what may lay ahead for his championship chances.

"I think we just need to remain focussed. There's still a few races to go in the championship. I've always said I'll evaluate my championship after the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
 
http://www.nzherald.co.nz