McLaughlin wins twice as Supercars resume

Oliver Caffrey
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SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP SYDNEY

Supercars defending champion Scott McLaughlin has won two of the three races in the Sydney round

It might be a different trackside experience, but Scott McLaughlin's hunger for success remains after winning two races at the Supercars' first round in more than 100 days in Sydney.

The Ford flyer dominated Sunday's second race from pole, making it three wins from five starts in the COVID-19-affected season.

Not even an almost four-month hiatus and persistent speculation he will race in an Indy Car next year can stop McLaughlin's charge towards a third-straight title.

The 27-year-old did it easily at Sydney Motorsport Park for his 46th career victory, a day after holding off Holden rival Shane van Gisbergen to win the first completed race since February.

"The determination of the whole group has been great. There's been some tough times, not only for our team but for everyone in the sport," McLaughlin said.

"The love and the want to go racing again. We can do as many cartoon (Eseries) races as we want but there's nothing like going out there for the very first time and revving the engine.

"It's pretty awesome and I can't wait for the fans to come back because it's going to be so much better as well."

Tickford's Lee Holdsworth made it a Ford one-two with an impressive drive after qualifying fourth fastest.

Seven-time champion Jamie Whincup completed a consistent spectator-less round with his third podium finish of the Sydney Supersprint.

The Holden legend appears to be McLaughlin's only legitimate title threat with Kiwi rival Shane van Gisbergen struggling for consistency.

Earlier, Holden dark horse Nick Percat denied McLaughlin a weekend three-peat by winning his first Supercars race since 2016 after eclipsing Whincup in the Holden legend's 500th career start.

Percat started the first of two Sunday races from sixth but flew past Whincup, who led from pole until lap 23.

It was the 31-year-old Brad Jones Racing driver's third career victory from his 200th start and first in four years since an Adelaide 500 triumph.

"It's taken a few more years than I would've wanted but, as soon as we're in a good position, we throw everything at it."

Percat joins McLaughlin (three) and Whincup as the season's only winners, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing the championship into shutdown since the Australian F1 Grand Prix was abandoned mid-event.

SYDNEY SUPERSPRINT RACE THREE:

* 1. Scott McLaughlin (Ford)

* 2. Lee Holdsworth (Ford)

* 3. Jamie Whincup (Holden)

* 4. David Reynolds (Holden)

* 5. Mark Winterbottom (Holden).

SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

* 1. Scott McLaughlin (Ford) 574 points

* 2. Jamie Whincup (Holden) 525

* 3. Chaz Mostert (Holden) 432

* 4. Cameron Waters (Ford) 411

* 5. David Reynolds (Holden) 392.