After a longer than expected break, the Repco Supercars Championship finally returns this weekend with the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown.
Van Gisbergen remains the one to beat, with the 2016 champion’s good start to the year setting the benchmark for the rest of the competition, despite being able to only win one race out of the last six.
The New Zealander might have to wait even longer for his next win though as Hidden Valley hasn’t proved all too kind to him in previous years – his last victory in Darwin coming back in his championship winning year in 2016.
Fabian Coulthard, David Reynolds, Anton DePasquale and Jamie Whincup are the only other current drivers to have enjoyed a top step finish in Darwin in the past four years. De Pasquale’s victory, which occurred in the first of back-to-back rounds last year, the first of his Supercars career.
Another driver to look out for is Cam Waters. The Tickford driver will be keen to continue his season revival after a slow start to the season. However for Waters to make it two-consecutive wins in 2021, he will have to win at a race track that he’s never won at Supercars level before.
A race victory, or the highly sought after Triple Crown, would give Waters a major confidence boost for the rest of the season as the Darwin based circuit holds the unique status of boasting the highest ratio of race winners go on to win the title.
Since its first appearance in 1998, a race winner from the weekend has gone on to become champion at the end of the season 14 times - a statistic the superstitious contenders will hang their hat on.
From drivers looking for title glory to drivers at the start of their Supercars’ career, the Darwin will also welcome Thomas Randle and Kurt Kostecki for their second wildcard entries after impressive solo debuts at The Bend Motorsport Park last month.
In addition to the main event, the top end circuit hosts impressive support category list with the Australian Superbike Championship and Stadium Super Trucks to enjoy plenty of track time.
The Merlin Darwin Triple Crown takes place at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin on 18-20 June.
Friday 18 June
11.25am–12:05pm: Practice 1
1:20–1:50pm: Practice 2
Saturday 19 June
11:35am–12:40pm: Armor All Qualifying Race 12
3:25–4:25pm: Race 12
Sunday 30 May
9:15–9:25am: Armor All Qualifying Race 13
9:30–9:40am: Armor All Qualifying Race 14
11:55am–12:55pm: Race 13
3:25–4:25pm: Race 14
(All times are marked as ACST)
Australian Superbike Championship
Stadium Super Trucks
Championship Top 10
Shane van Gisbergen - 1112 points
Jamie Whincup - 922
Chaz Mostert - 866
Will Davison - 861
Cameron Waters - 848
Mark Winterbottom - 697
Anton De Pasquale - 648
Andre Heimgartner - 646
Nick Percat - 617
Brodie Kostecki - 615
#2 Holden Commodore ZB - Bryce Fullwood
#3 Ford Mustang - Tim Slade
#4 Holden Commodore ZB - Jack Smith
#5 Ford Mustang - Jack Le Brocq
#6 Ford Mustang - Cameron Waters
#7 Ford Mustang - Andre Heimgartner
#8 Holden Commodore ZB - Nick Percat
#9 Holden Commodore ZB - Will Brown
#11 Ford Mustang - Anton De Pasquale
#14 Holden Commodore ZB - Todd Hazelwood
#17 Ford Mustang - Will Davison
#18 Holden Commodore ZB - Mark Winterbottom
#19 Holden Commodore ZB - Fabian Coulthard
#20 Holden Commodore ZB - Scott Pye
#22 Holden Commodore ZB - Garry Jacobson
#25 Holden Commodore ZB - Chaz Mostert
#26 Ford Mustang - David Reynolds
#27 Holden Commodore ZB - Kurt Kostecki*
#34 Holden Commodore ZB - Jake Kostecki
#35 Holden Commodore ZB - Zane Goddard
#44 Ford Mustang - James Courtney
#55 Ford Mustang – Thomas Randle*
#88 Holden Commodore ZB - Jamie Whincup
#96 Holden Commodore ZB - Macauley Jones
#97 Holden Commodore ZB - Shane van Gisbergen
#99 Holden Commodore ZB - Brodie Kostecki