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Coulthard wins Phillip Island Supercars

NZN 22/04/2017 Ben McKay

Fabian Coulthard rose above the Supercars omnishambles at Phillip Island on Saturday, claiming a race win and the championship lead amid farcical scenes.

Coulthard was one of 11 drivers to suffer 15 separate tyre blowouts on a crazy day's racing.

Incredibly, no one was hurt or sustained major car damage despite incidents that occurred as drivers travelled in excess of 240km/hr.

A review has been ordered in to the succession of tyre failures, with zealous officials adding to the confusion.

Eight drivers - including frontrunners Scott McLaughlin, Shane van Gisbergen and Mark Winterbottom - were left seething with 15-second penalties for minor infringements.

The tyre failures and fervent officialdom upset the natural order, leaving teams and drivers confused.

The weight of blowouts alone brought a lengthy safety car delay just to allow stewards to clean up pieces of rubber and debris from the track.

Engineers were scrambling to reset their tyre settings, with team managers confronting officials over their contentious interpretation of pit-lane entry rules.

With the superior pace of his DJR Team Penske Falcon, Coulthard was able to come back from his early setback, when leading the race.

He blew his right front tyre early on lap 19 and was forced to crawl around the track before replacing it.

The Kiwi said after the race at that moment "if I'm honest I didn't expect to win".

"But we had a quick car. I didn't think for a second I'd make it back to first.

"I thought maybe the podium was in reach.

"We went through our fair share of misfortunes ... it was certainly not the way we wanted to win."

Despite claiming the championship lead, it was only "early days" in the title race.

"I always say I'll evaluate my championship after the Enduros but this has been the best position I've been in this early. It's great," he said.

Jamie Whincup, Garth Tander and Van Gisbergen - who all avoided tyre trouble - rounded out the top four.

The incident-packed race began on lap one, when David Reynolds surfed through the grass on the inside of the track and returned to the tarmac, scattering five other cars into the gravel.

Then came the tyre carnage.

The sport will combine with tyre supplier Dunlop to conduct "a full investigation into the tyre issues from today's race", according to Supercars sporting and technical director David Stuart.

Whincup earned second place by staying drama-free.

"There were bets going on pit lane with how many (tyres) would be blown," he said.

"We didn't have any pace but we didn't make any mistakes and we got rewarded with a podium."

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