Scott McLaughlin has bounced back from a self-described ‘average’ day yesterday to take pole and a fantastic race win at his home track, Queensland Raceway.
Having been off the podium since Saturday in Townsville, McLaughlin was determined to make amends and rekindle the rich vein of form that he has enjoyed in 2019.
The pole was his 13th of the year, while the win was number 14 which – when combined with the two wins for Fabian Coulthard and one for Chaz Mostert – sealed the 2019 Supercars Manufacturers title for Ford and the new-for-2019 Mustang.
“We had to work hard for that one,” commented McLaughlin. “Shane (van Gisbergen) pushed me the whole way, he never gives up and just kept coming.
“The car didn’t feel nice today, it didn’t want to turn and I could see his car was working really nicely so I’m really happy to have taken that one. I just want to keep building my lead in the championship. I am very lucky I get to drive a car like this and want to make the most of it. We’ve got a bit of time off now before we head to The Bend, so we’ll get to enjoy this a bit.”
McLaughlin led the race essentially from start to finish, running as effective leader during the pit stop cycles. He got a solid start off the front row alongside Chaz Mostert, battling his fellow Mustang driver through Turn 1 and Turn 2 before pulling ahead down the back straight on the opening lap.
He was pushed hard by Triple Eight driver Shane van Gisbergen, who raced McLaughlin hard to the flag, only 0.7-seconds behind him.
“It was a good weekend of racing,” said van Gisbergen. “I didn’t know if Scottie was cruising or not, but I could see he was driving fairly straight.
“I thought he would get going when I caught up to him but saw he had a couple of slides. I got a little bit excited closing the gap but unfortunately, I used up all my stuff to actually catch up to him.
“The car today was the best car I’ve had all year. The team did a really good job. Around here, you just loose so much in the first two corners with the aero and then you pull it back in the low speeds, so it was tough but a great battle until the end.”
McLaughlin’s points lead is now 433 over teammate Coulthard.
The result secured Ford the 2019 Supercars Manufacturers’ title, which is based on total race wins through the season.
Fabian Coulthard had a tough day, qualifying 11th before battling in the mid-pack during the opening stint of the race. He came together with Anton de Pasquale at Turn 4 on lap nine, ending up on the in-field dirt. He returned to the track in last place, and then had to consolidate and minimise the damage.
He ended the race 18th, and remains second, 87 points clear of Van Gisbergen in third. The Team’s points lead is now 757 over Triple Eight.