McLaughlin proves perfect in V8 Supercars at Phillip Island

| Photographer Credit: Mark Horsburgh

Twenty-two year old New Zealand driver Scott McLaughlin celebrated a perfect weekend with victory in the second race of the V8 Supercars Championship at Phillip Island today.

It is the first time McLaughlin has managed back-to-back wins after claiming the first race of the SuperSprint round at the famed circuit south of Melbourne.

It proved a stunning weekend for the Gary Rogers Motorsport Volvo driver, who broke the lap record in practice on Friday, won pole on the way to winning on Saturday and repeated that with a second pole and commanding win today.

McLaughlin had run 44 races since his last victory until the win on Saturday but his performances over the weekend were such that he has jumped to second place in the championship, just 15 points behind the new leader Jamie Whincup.

“I was yelling is much under the helmet that I’ve lost my voice. This means so much to us and our sponsors Wilson Security, Pace and Volvo Australia,” McLaughlin said.

“To the guys and girls from GRM, thanks for sticking by me through thick and thin and giving me such a great car. We are coming back and I think we will have a good one this year.

“I couldn’t do it without such a great team behind me.”

Saturday’s exploits proved a treat for Kiwi drivers with Fabian Coulthard rushing home for third and Shane van Gisbergen fourth.

McLaughlin aside, Sunday was not so kind to the Kiwis with Coulthard’s Team Penske Ford suffering a major misfire and engine failure before the start of the race, reducing him to an onlooker, while van Gisbergen was never on the pace, although rushed home with new rubber after a late pit stop to sneak into the top-10.

Van Gisbergen is sixth in the championship and Coulthard 15th while of the other New Zealanders Andre Heimgartner is 24th and Chris Pither 26th.

McLaughlin had to fight off an aggressive start from Whincup off the line, with the pair racing door handle to door handle at 260kph through the opening corners before the Kiwis managed to eke out an advantage.

Whincup pushed the Red Bull Holden back into the fight through a different pit strategy late in the race, until a tyre blowout by Cameron Waters brought a late safety car and a final 10 lap sprint.

However it was Whincup who ultimately blinked first, going wide onto the front straight to not only let McLaughlin break the bungee cord, but reigning champion Winterbottom and Coulthard’s Penske teammate Scott Pye managed to push past to claim the minor spots on the podium.

Whincup finished fourth ahead of teammate Craig Lowndes with Michael Caruso sixth for Nissan, James Courtney (Holden Racing) seventh, Chaz Mostert (Supercheap Auto) eighth after coming from the back of the field, from Will Davison and van Gisbergen.

The V8 Supercars Championship heads to Perth for another SuperSprint round on 6-8 May with the New Zealand stop, the ITM Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe on 4-6 November.

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