Champagne Chaz in a corker
CHAZ Mostert survived an eight- lap assault from series leader Scott McLaughlin to end the DJR Team Penske star’s hot streak and announce Prodrive Racing Australia as the championship dark horse.
In a frantic finish to the Queensland Super Sprint at Ipswich, Mostert fought off McLaughlin after another spate of blown tyres brought out a safety car on lap 49.
Mostert was powering his way to his second win of the year after an emphatic startline victory over McLaughlin when the dodgy rubber wiped away his three- second lead.
The win keeps Mostert in touch with McLaughlin and the Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s Jamie Whincup, who fought hard to finish fourth.
“It is great to win here again at Queensland Raceway,’’ Mostert said. “And it is a credit to all the boys. We had a great car and it is fantastic to get back up here.’’
Mostert said the safety car that forced him into the late fight was not needed.
“I was a bit annoyed with the safety car,’’ Mostert said.
“I had gone around and there wasn’t much debris. I really wasn’t expecting it and I was a bit worried because there were some guys with better rubber on.’’
Earlier, McLaughlin had broken an Ipswich lap record to equal Dick Johnson’s mark of five straight pole positions.
Fresh from winning race one to extend his championship lead, McLaughlin went fastest ever at Queensland Raceway to secure his latest front- row start for the 200km Super Sprint.
McLaughlin blasted a 1min 08.42sec lap on his last flyer to lower the record he set earlier in the session.
Whincup ensured a championship fight up front by qualifying third after being edged out by Mostert.
Heavyweight racers Fabian Coulthard and Shane Van Gisbergen finished up front to set up an intriguing race.
McLaughlin extended his championship points lead over Whincup to 111 points on Saturday when he was untouchable in the first instalment of the Ipswich event.
But his run of luck ended on the start line when he was blitzed by Mostert and Whincup to make it a comeback mission.
Passed by teammate Fabian Coulthard in the poor start, McLaughlin attempted to blast his way back into contention by pressuring his fellow Ford driver.
But McLaughlin could not force his way past and was brought in for an early lap 12 stop to get off his teammate’s bumper and find some clean air.
Mostert was passed by Whincup in the first round of stops, and the Ford driver took on more fuel in a move that sacrificed the lead.
But the PRA driver grabbed his spot back and took control of the race on lap 36 when Whincup was forced to make a longer stop after going short during his first fill.
McLaughlin came back into contention on lap 49 when he passed Whincup for second.
The Ford star’s mission was to peg back a 2.9- second gap to take the lead.
But a safety car for a blown tyre wiped away Mostert’s lead to make it a race.