The final round of the Pirtek Enduro Cup took the Supercars to Surfers Paradise for the party race, the Gold Coast 600. A total street circuit, Surfers gives the teams a chance to show who has the best chassis with tight corners, fast chicanes and next to no straights. Heading in to the two 300km races, the points gap for the Cup was tight but ended with a clear gap between the best and the rest.
- Shane van Gisbergen and Alex Premat undeniably silenced any doubters by taking out the Saturday race and the Pirtek Enduro Cup. In the first of the 300km races, the pair were able to overcome a 10 second penalty during the race to take the win, the first for them as a pairing and Premat’s first in Supercars. van Gisbergen showed in both races that he is in prime position to take the championship, driving sensibly and going in to the final two rounds with a 148 point margin.
- Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell were able to salvage an average endurance campaign with a win in the final race. Putting the Sandown and Bathurst heartbreaks behind them, they were able to score a podium in the Saturday race and a win in the Sunday competition to yet again show why they are often regarded as the best pairing in the paddock. While they still lost points to the #97 in the championship, the two podiums meant damage limitation as Whincup lost 285 points to van Gisbergen over the whole Enduro Cup campaign.
- Scott McLaughlin and David Wall put in two solid drives to end up on the podium in both races on the Gold Coast. McLaughlin yet again put himself at the pointy end of the pack, shining as one of the category’s top drivers. His move on Winterbottom at the back end of Sunday’s race was an example of good driving from both of them: McLaughlin for making the turn with his car out of control and Winterbottom avoiding contact by seeing it coming. Wall should be given kudos after securing his first ever Supercars podium on Saturday and backing it up on Sunday.
- Garth Tander and Warren Luff may have had a good Sandown 500 but it seemed to all go downhill from there. While Luff was consistently strong and fast, Tander’s driving demonstrated what happens when you’re fighting for your career. Enough has been said about Bathurst and the debacle there but there is no doubt that Tander’s driving that sent Fabian Coulthard in to the wall in the Saturday was nothing short of senseless. To force the issue with a minimal overlap was a desperate move to try and gain a place though the repercussions put them in a worse position than what they would have been in had the move not happened.
- Fabian Coulthard and Luke Youlden were on track for another strong finish in the #12 DJRTP machine when their race came to a crashing end. Though not the fault of Coulthard, the incident took them out of a strong top ten spot and possibly the weekend. Another miracle rebuild by DJRTP and Pace Innovations saw the car back out on Sunday but it wasn’t the same, struggling to get ahead in the pack. Coulthard will want to win at least one race this year for the team that poached him in to a drive that could promise a championship.
- Prodrive Racing went from dominating last season to only winning one race so far this year, failing to get a podium spot at the Gold Coast. The promising combination of Winterbottom/Canto didn’t yield a podium over the Enduro Cup, nor did the Mostert/Owen entry. In fact, the team’s best result was the Waters/Le Brocq car at Bathurst with fourth. Their speed on street circuits last year was above par but now the team are in danger of losing a strong garage spot for next season.
With only two rounds left in the championship, we next head across the ditch to New Zealand’s Pukekohe Raceway, a fast, flowing circuit that sees drivers compete for the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy.