New Zealand driver Scott McLaughlin dominated the opening race of the V8 Supercars Championship at Phillip Island today.
The Volvo driver pushed to the lead from the pole position, taking his pit stop early and then producing a mistake-free race from that point.
It sparked an outstanding day for the Kiwis with Fabian Coulthard third and Shane van Gisbergen fourth.
The most pressure came from Red Bull Racing’s Jamie Whincup who pushed through from the second row o f the grid and put the Kiwi under pressure towards the end of the race to claim second.
Coulthard made it two Kiwis on the podium with an impressive charge to claim third, with the Kiwi pitting later than most of the field, with the benefit of better tyres to pass Craig Lowndes, compatriot van Gisbergen, reigning champion Mark Winterbottom and his teammate Chaz Mostert in an impressive display for the DJR Team Penske driver.
It snapped a 44-race winless run for McLaughlin who dominated yesterday’s practice with a new lap record around the Phillip Island circuit.
It proved an outstanding day for the New Zealanders with van Gisbergen fourth ahead of Winterbottom, Lowndes, James Moffat, with his best effort since moving to the Garry Roger’s Volvo team.
Tim Blake, Garth Tander and Jason Bright filled out the rest of the top 10.
There is a separate qualifying session ahead of a longer 45-lap race on Sunday that will further test the tyre strategies on the hard-wearing circuit.