The Bend Supercars: McLaughlin one point from title

Andrew van Leeuwen
·3 mins read

McLaughlin was beaten off the line by teammate Fabian Coulthard at the start of the 32-lapper, the pole-sitter even needing to defend into Turn 1 to keep Whincup at bay.

However, once the early challenge from Whincup was contained, the two Penske Fords executed an inevitable switch, Coulthard rolling out of the throttle on Lap 7 to gift the lead to McLaughlin.

From there it looked like a cakewalk for the points leader, who took his mandatory service on Lap 12 and faced an easy run home with Coulthard in the rear gunner role.

That was until Lap 22, when both Coulthard and David Reynolds rolled to a stop with their own driveline problems, not only costing McLaughlin the protection of his teammate, but also his margin thanks to the deployment of the safety car.

The six-lap dash home proved simple enough, however, McLaughlin comfortably able to hold off Anton De Pasquale and Cam Waters to take a 56th career victory, which moves him clear into fourth on the all-time winners list.

Even better for McLaughlin was that Whincup slumped to seventh in the race thanks to a pitstop issue, which means he only needs to outscore the T8 driver by one point in this afternoon's finale to seal the title with a round to go.

"It's a bummer about Fabs, we were on for a one-two there," said McLaughlin.

"Huge team game by Shell V-Power Racing, Fabs took it on the chin to let me go at the start. I really appreciate that. He had a great car and a great start.

"We'll make sure we dot our i's and cross out t's. If we can get it done today, that'd be fantastic. If we don't, we'll put ourselves in the best position come Bathurst."

Having run third in the first stint, Whincup was delayed at his stop when he ran over an air hose on his way into the box. That meant his service took 6.6s, Whincup re-emerging down in sixth.

The safety car didn't go his way, either, teammate Shane van Gisbergen opting to stop for four tyres for a charge to the flag. That meant he was able to chase Whincup down, Triple Eight giving the Kiwi the green light to pass the #88 entry, despite it robbing Whincup of points.

Van Gisbergen managed to climb all the way to fifth, passing Rick Kelly, Whincup, Chaz Mostert and Nick Percat in the last six laps. He managed to get onto the back of fourth-placed James Courtney, too, but the veteran was too solid in his defence on the final lap.

17

New Zealand
New Zealand

Scott McLaughlin

-

99

Australia
Australia

Anton De Pasquale

1.127

1.128

1.128

6

Australia
Australia

Cameron Waters

1.769

1.770

0.642

44

Australia
Australia

James Courtney

2.816

2.817

1.047

97

New Zealand
New Zealand

Shane van Gisbergen

3.144

3.144

0.327

8

Australia
Australia

Nick Percat

3.654

3.654

0.510

88

Australia
Australia

Jamie Whincup

3.986

3.987

0.332

25

Australia
Australia

Chaz Mostert

4.571

4.572

0.585

15

Australia
Australia

Rick Kelly

5.706

5.706

1.135

7

New Zealand
New Zealand

Andre Heimgartner

8.955

8.956

3.249

14

Australia
Australia

Todd Hazelwood

9.804

9.804

0.848

18

Australia
Australia

Mark Winterbottom

10.410

10.411

0.607

55

Australia
Australia

Jack Le Brocq

11.416

11.416

1.005

3

Australia
Australia

Macauley Jones

12.246

12.246

0.830

22

New Zealand
New Zealand

Chris Pither

12.702

12.703

0.457

34

Australia
Australia

Jake Kostecki

15.144

15.145

2.442

4

Australia
Australia

Jack Smith

19.960

19.960

4.816

2

Australia
Australia

Bryce Fullwood

25.993

25.993

6.033

20

Australia
Australia

Scott Pye

1'44.519

1'44.520

1'18.527

12

New Zealand
New Zealand

Fabian Coulthard

9

Australia
Australia

David Reynolds

35

Australia
Australia

Garry Jacobson

5

Australia
Australia

Lee Holdsworth

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