Scott McLaughlin holds a narrow two point lead heading into the final race of the Australia Supercars Championship season after a thriller in Newcastle on Saturday. Rival Shane van Gisbergen won the race reducing the previous points deficit from 14 to two.
“That was seriously close,” commented McLaughlin. “We were so close to getting to the finish. But it does set-up a fantastic race and show for the fans tomorrow. A proper grand final, winner takes all. Tonight is half-time. We’ll get into the oranges, have a think about it and come out tomorrow to try and win this championship.”
The gap between the title contenders was just six-seconds on lap 83, with both McLaughlin and Van Gisbergen in fuel saving mode, and with five to go the gap dropped under five-seconds, as McLaughlin saved fuel to get to the flag.
With two laps remaining, McLaughlin got the low fuel warning and started maximum fuel saving. Unfortunately, McLaughlin was passed for the lead by Van Gisbergen at the final corner of the final lap to finish second, taking a two-point lead into the final race of the season tomorrow.
“It was hard to get a good start on the inside row with that line of paint, Jamie (Whincup) was able to let me go, which was awesome,” commented van Gisbergen. “I had some really good pace, but I burnt my tyres up on the first stint. I struggled at the start of the second stint but then I got going, it was an awesome race.
“At the end, I was saving fuel, I thought it was all over when we had to come back into the pits but somehow, I was able to save fuel, which saved my tyres and we had plenty of speed at the end.
“It’s crazy but it’s perfect for tomorrow, it sets up a great race, winner takes all. There’s a couple of points between us and they (DJR Team Penske) are in good form but we’re good as well. We’ve got the team and the car to do it so we’ve just got to turn up. ”
DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
1. Scott McLaughlin 3794
2. Shane Van Gisbergen 3792 -2
3. Jamie Whincup 3295 -499
4. Craig Lowndes 3153 -641
5. David Reynolds 3047 -747
6. Chaz Mostert 2711 -1083
7. Scott Pye 2521 -1273
8. Rick Kelly 2461 -1333
9. Fabian Coulthard 2450 -1344
10. Nick Percat 2221 -1573