Kiwi Coulthard claims two wins in Melbourne
A driver best known for a spectacular 2010 crash at Bathurst appears ready to make an impact on the 2013 V8 Supercars championship after back-to-back victories at Albert Park today.
Before the V8 exhibition round at the Australian Grand Prix, Kiwi Fabian Coulthard had never claimed a pole position, race win or top-10 season finish in the category. His biggest claim to fame was unbelievably emerging unscathed from a scary 290kph crash at Mount Panorama three years ago, rolling his vehicle six times.
But Coulthard looks set to do some damage in the V8 championship series after consecutive wins on Friday. Starting on pole for the second straight race, Coulthard finished more than two seconds ahead of series leader Craig Lowndes with his Brad Jones Racing teammate Jason Bright third.
However, Lowndes faces an anxious wait as officials investigate a pit-lane incident between the Holden driver and Bright.
No championship points are up for grabs in Melbourne but Coulthard is earning something just as important ahead of the next official round at Tasmania's Symmons Plains in early April - a psychological edge.
Coulthard's Commodore comes from the same makers of premier Holden team Triple Eight Red Bull, home of four-time driver's champion Jamie Whincup and 2013 series leader Lowndes.
And Coulthard made it clear Triple Eight won't be having it all their own way in 2013 by triumphing in an intriguing duel with Lowndes in race two.
Coulthard surprisingly emerged second behind Lowndes after a compulsory pit stop on lap four. But Lowndes could only hold on for five more laps as Coulthard once again turned heads with his superior pace.
On a frustrating day for Red Bull, Whincup finished third last after copping a drive-through penalty for a pitlane infringement.
Coulthard earlier on Friday notched his maiden career V8 win in the opening 12km race with Bright second and Ford's WIll Davison third.
Coulthard's dream day was in stark contrast to what V8 punters were used to seeing from the New Zealander.
His previous sole podium was a third placing at Tasmania's Symmons Plains track four years ago. Last year's 11th placing on the championship was his best in five- full-time V8 seasons.
The exhibition round is completed by 12-lap races on Saturday and Sunday.