Sydney Supercars: McLaughlin holds on in Sydney thriller

Andrew van Leeuwen

The two Kiwis staged a yo-yoing battle across the 32 laps, McLaughlin twice pulling a decent lead and then twice being reeled in.

The pole-sitter was electric in the opening laps of the race, scorching away from van Gisbergen and co. 

The lead blew out to as much as 3.5s before van Gisbergen – who had comfortably gapped teammate Jamie Whincup – started to make in-roads. He got as close as half a second before McLaughlin made a stop for four tyres on Lap 15.

Van Gisbergen opted to run longer, the Red Bull Holden driver not stopping until Lap 19. The undercut from others hurt, though, van Gisbergen emerging fifth in the order and more than 5s behind leader McLaughlin.

Four fresh boots made progress easy to come by, though, van Gisbergen swiftly working his way back into second. 

He then closed back up to McLaughlin with a few laps to go, the pair staging a thrilling nose-to-tail battle to the flag.

But while van Gisbergen seemed to have the pace, McLaughlin was flawless in defence as he held on for a 0.18s win.

“He’s like a cockroach, you can never get rid of him, he’s always around!," said McLaughlin.

“I knew I was going to be in a little bit of trouble in that last stint, the way he came at me in the first.

“So we’ve got a bit of work to do with how we tune it up but you take them when you can get them.

“It was tough in those last five laps but I did the best I could. It was great race.”

Van Gisbergen, meanwhile, was left to rue aero wash.

“It was a pretty decent race but every time you get close, the aero wash is ridiculous, so I couldn’t do much with it,” he said.

“We tried to go long and have a better chance at the end but we could him and it just understeered. It’s hard to pass, we need to try something different tomorrow.”

Whincup held off an early challenge from Chaz Mostert to round out the podium, with the Walkinshaw Holden driver coming home a somewhat lonely fourth.

Nick Percat was a solid fifth after overhauling Tickford pair Cam Waters and Lee Holdsworth, who only opted for two tyres during their stop.

Anton De Pasquale finished eighth, Mark Winterbottom ninth and Fabian Coulthard 10th. 

Race results:

Cla Driver Car Time
1 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin
Ford Mustang GT 49'59.585
2 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen
Holden Commodore ZB 49'59.773
3 Australia Jamie Whincup
Holden Commodore ZB 50'09.360
4 Australia Chaz Mostert
Holden Commodore ZB 50'10.661
5 Australia Nick Percat
Holden Commodore ZB 50'27.914
6 Australia Cameron Waters
Ford Mustang GT 50'30.384
7 Australia Lee Holdsworth
Ford Mustang GT 50'31.340
8 Australia Anton De Pasquale
Holden Commodore ZB 50'31.369
9 Australia Mark Winterbottom
Holden Commodore ZB 50'32.256
10 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard
Ford Mustang GT 50'34.824
11 Australia Todd Hazelwood
Holden Commodore ZB 50'35.866
12 Australia James Courtney
Ford Mustang GT 50'43.566
13 Australia Bryce Fullwood
Holden Commodore ZB 50'43.575
14 Australia Rick Kelly
Ford Mustang GT 50'47.868
15 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner
Ford Mustang GT 50'48.024
16 Australia Garry Jacobson
Holden Commodore ZB 50'50.429
17 Australia Scott Pye
Holden Commodore ZB 50'50.645
18 Australia Macauley Jones
Holden Commodore ZB 50'50.995
19 Australia Jack Le Brocq
Ford Mustang GT 50'51.474
20 New Zealand Chris Pither
Holden Commodore ZB 51'01.621
21 Australia David Reynolds
Holden Commodore ZB 51'21.969
22 Australia Jake Kostecki
Holden Commodore ZB 51'23.756
23 Australia Jack Smith
Holden Commodore ZB 50'02.088
Australia Alex Davison
Holden Commodore ZB 19'05.628
View full results