Rising star Anton De Pasquale has only just missed out on his second podium of the season, scoring fourth in a rain-soaked Race 18 at Townsville.
Teammate David Reynolds could only manage 20th, after an opening lap incident with Scott McLaughlin forced him into the pits.
Rain started falling as the lights went out for the start, and David, on slicks, managed to hold third as cars filed down to Turn 1.
It was chaos though at Turn 2 as David went for a pass down the inside of McLaughlin. The #17 tucked in close and with no room left, the two clashed resulting in costly damage.
The #9 limped back to pit lane with a bent steering arm where the team quickly rectified the issue before sending him on his way, now 4 laps behind the rest.
With a greasy track and slower lap times, Anton pit at the end of lap 16, while the majority of the field appeared to be holding off from making the stop.
Huge damage to Jamie Whincup’s Holden caused the first Safety Car caused the first Safety Car and the opportunity for David to make a lap back; quickly diving for pit lane for tyres and a big gulp of fuel.
Anton followed in for a second time, only four laps after his first, this time taking wet-weather rubber as the bad weather continued.
Taking as much fuel as he could, the longer stopped parked him back up near the rear of field and meant he would have an interesting strategy to play for the remainder of the race.
The race restarted with 45 laps to go and with Anton the only one on wets in P16, it was going to be a matter of time as to whether the gamble would pay off.
The #99 Commodore dropped back to P18 as the track showed parts of a dry line but with rain still on the radar putting on wets early paid off in dividends for De Pasquale when the field scrambled for pit lane on lap 30.
Anton took the lead with a 24-second gap to the next best and with the pressure of an additional 24-litres still needed to satisfy the required fuel drop, he couldn’t celebrate just yet.
A late Safety Car saw him stop for a quick splash on lap 60 and slot in only half a second behind Cam Waters, and just shy of third place.
A time-certain finish saw the race end under yellow flags, Anton 4thand David doing well to make it back to 20thbefore the finish line.
David Reynolds – Started: 3rd, Finished: 20th
“It was sprinkling at the start on the warm up lap but when we looked at the radar it didn’t look like there was going to be much rain coming so we thought it would be something small that would pass. It was quite slippery, I got an average start but maintained position. I caught up to Scott by turn one and he broke early, I went to the inside to try and pass him, it looked like he turned right a little bit and we crashed, ripping the steering out of my hands and ruining my day.
“Qualifying was amazing though, anytime you can qualify in the first two rows is great, it was just a shame it wasn’t dry because we learnt a lot yesterday that we would have applied today but we didn’t get the opportunity.”
Anton De Pasquale – Started: 7th, Finished: 4th
“It was a pretty wild race, it was intermittent rain for most of it which threw in a lot of variables. We had a pretty good run, got a big lead at one point but unfortunately had to stop for more fuel and missed out on the podium by the smallest margin.
“When we first pit for wets the track wasn’t wet enough and the guys on slicks were faster and we thought we may have mucked it up, but it turned out to be the right call. If you gave me fourth at the start of the day I would have taken it but given how close we were, it’s disappointing to not get that podium; it’s really bittersweet.”