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Motosport

McLaughlin vows to regain Supercars lead

SVG shines, Whincup crashes in Supercars

The message from Ford gun Scott McLaughlin to Shane van Gisbergen after the Holden star snatched away his Supercars series lead at Tailem Bend, South Australia was simple – bring it on.

Van Gisbergen turned an 89 point deficit into a 19 point lead at The Bend track, an hour’s drive from Adelaide, after a dream weekend for his Red Bull Racing team.

The Kiwi stormed to victory in Saturday’s 120km opener before finishing second behind RBR teammate and reigning Supercars champion Jamie Whincup in Sunday’s 200km finale at the $110 million circuit.

McLaughlin could only manage sixth and 10th respectively after never getting his head around the demanding 18-turn, 4.95km circuit.

While he admitted losing the lead “sucks”, McLaughlin vowed to meet RBR’s challenge as the series moves into the high stakes enduro rounds starting with next month’s Sandown 500.

Asked about van Gisbergen’s threat, McLaughlin declared: “Bring it on. We will just have to work for it.

“There are a lot of things we have to sort as a team but we just have to keep working hard – push onwards and upwards.”

McLaughlin’s DJR Team Penske crew never got the car balance right at The Bend, joining the many other drivers who slipped and slided around a track considered the most technical on the Supercars’ schedule.

But the 25-year-old believed there were encouraging signs at the Supercars’ newest circuit.

“It was a tough weekend but we soldiered on, we never stopped trying,” he said.


“It sucks (losing the series lead) but at the end of the race we actually found a decent balance in the car.

“It’s just too bad it is 365 days until the next one here.”

RBR have created ominous momentum before the enduros after Whincup’s victory on Sunday ensured they became the greatest winning team in Australian touring car history.

The Brisbane-based team notched win No.181 since their inception 15 years ago, eclipsing legendary Walkinshaw Andretti United (formerly known as Walkinshaw Racing) as Supercars’ greatest ever outfit.

Still, McLaughlin has not given up hope on toppling RBR this year and claim his maiden Supercars championship after Whincup sensationally denied him in 2017’s final round.

“Unfortunately we have to say goodbye to (the series lead) but I am sure we will get it back later, there are plenty of laps to come,” he said.

“Hopefully we have really good speed at the enduro races like we did last year.

“I am excited about that. Actually I am more excited to get out of this joint.”


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