This year’s Townsville 400 was one to remember, with twists and turns in the season’s plot nearly every lap. With a Sunday pole and two podiums, it was also a fairly successful weekend for the team, though we’ve come out feeling more success was left on the table. Get the scoop on Round 8 with our crash course and gallery from Townsville below.
Friday Sprinkles, Sunday Splashdown
In the first ten runnings of the Townsville 400, North Queensland turned on the weather with regularly sunny skies and warm days, giving the interstate competitors and spectators a welcome relief from the southern winter. However this year, Supercars teams made an event first by fitting Dunlop wet weather tyres to their cars on Friday and Sunday as rains hit the popular event for the first time in its history. A damp Friday Practice 1 was led by Cameron Waters, while Waters and more emphatically Chaz Mostert were the highlights of much of the Sunday race, which took place in changing conditions.
Mostert stood on the podium in a dry Saturday Race 17, while it was Waters who took P3 on Sunday, however Mostert in P5 appeared to be the car to beat, slicing through the field in wet conditions. But it was a strategy gamble that didn’t pay off for Mostert, who needed to pit from the lead late in the race to satisfy his minimum fuel drop.
Waters and Monster Energy Racing’s Sunday form was the turnaround of the weekend in the paddock, as the Car 6 crew rebounded from a dismal Saturday to be one of the better stories of Sunday’s running. Saturday’s challenges stemmed from a struggle for race pace, but were compounded by a long first stop while his crew made adjustments, and furthermore when the 24-year old made contact with another car just after his stop, earning Waters a 15-second penalty, dropping him to 21st at the chequered flag.
Sunday, however was a much different story, as the fourth-year driver led the team in group qualifying, and stole the show and the pole by just over a tenth of a second in the Top Ten Shootout, the fourth of Waters’ career. A wild Race 18 saw Waters run up front all race, ultimately finishing third, his fifth podium of the season.
Randle’s Humbling Heartbreak
For a few hours on Saturday afternoon, Thomas Randle was celebrating his first career Super2 win after leading every lap thanks to a fantastic launch off the start line. However the race stewards later hit the 23-year old with a pair of pit lane penalties for accelerating too early on restarts during the Saturday race, dropping him to 13th in Race 6. Randle’s Sunday race appeared to be a solid rebound, running in the top five all race, but was again assessed a penalty on a restart, dropping him to 16th in Race 7. Understandably keen to shake off the frustration from Townsville, Randle won’t have to wait long for another chance to pick up that maiden win…
What’s Next: Century Batteries Ipswich SuperSprint
We return to Queensland at the end of the month for the ninth instalment of 2019 Supercars racing, at Queensland Raceway outside Brisbane. QR is a happy hunting ground for Mostert in particular, who has three race wins, two poles, and nine podiums at the 3.12-kilometre circuit. Super2 will join Supercars for the event for the first time since 2015, where Waters was the round winner. The Century Batteries Ipswich SuperSprint takes place July 26-28.