Sydney Supercars: McLaughlin triumphs under lights

Andrew van Leeuwen
·4-min read

The DJR Team Penske driver started from pole, but a decision to burn a set of hard compound Dunlops in the first stint meant he was never going to spend long out front.

After being out-braked by a softs-shod Shane van Gisbergen into Turn 2 McLaughlin dropped all the way back to sixth during his short first stint.

He stopped to switch to softs on Lap 10, emerging more than 50 seconds behind leader van Gisbergen. 

More importantly, however, he ended up in front of both Anton De Pasquale and Lee Holdsworth as the stops shook out, two drivers that gambled on a double-softs strategy in search of glory under lights.

Holdsworth's Lap 15 stop turned out to the the flashpoint of the race. He came out right in front of both McLaughlin and De Pasquale, but couldn't hold them off as he waited for his tyre temperatures to come up on his out lap.

The Tickford driver was able to swiftly get by De Pasquale and close in on McLaughlin, but the toll on the tyre life meant he couldn't mount a meaningful challenge for the effective lead.

When van Gisbergen ran too long on his softs and lost too much time changing to hards during his Lap 20 stop, McLaughlin was able to charge to victory – with a set of softs still up his sleeve for tomorrow.

"I'm really thankful I got a good start," said McLaughlin. "I was able to position a bit better. I knew [the cars on softs] were going to come at me hard. 

"And then I managed to stay with them closer than I thought. The car was so good on both compounds. 

"We stuck to our guns. We knew people were probably going to try [the softs-softs] strategy, but we trusted our car speed. I'm really proud."

Holdsworth finished second, 1.3s behind the winner, with De Pasquale just under five seconds behind the winner in third.

However both burned through both their sets of softs and now face a long two races tomorrow.

Van Gisbergen recovered to fourth after his strategic misstep, with teammate Whincup less than a second behind him, both with softs left for tomorrow.

Cam Waters finished sixth after going from softs to hards, while Fabian Coulthard was the best of the drivers that didn't use softs in the race at all in seventh.

Macauley Jones finished a solo career best eighth after going through both sets of soft tyres, followed by Brad Jones Racing teammate Nick Percat and Team 18's Mark Winterbottom.

McLaughlin's series lead is now out to 75 points over Whincup, with Chaz Mostert 194 points – almost two thirds of a round's worth – behind in third.

The result also leaves McLaughlin just one victory short of equalling the great Peter Brock on career ATCC/Supercars race wins.

Sydney Supersprint - Night race results:

1

17

New Zealand

Scott McLaughlin

Ford Mustang GT

2

5

Australia

Lee Holdsworth

Ford Mustang GT

1.315

3

99

Australia

Anton De Pasquale

Holden Commodore ZB

4.727

4

97

New Zealand

Shane van Gisbergen

Holden Commodore ZB

17.406

5

88

Australia

Jamie Whincup

Holden Commodore ZB

18.278

6

6

Australia

Cameron Waters

Ford Mustang GT

19.128

7

12

New Zealand

Fabian Coulthard

Ford Mustang GT

24.504

8

3

Australia

Macauley Jones

Holden Commodore ZB

26.136

9

8

Australia

Nick Percat

Holden Commodore ZB

26.294

10

18

Australia

Mark Winterbottom

Holden Commodore ZB

53.978

11

25

Australia

Chaz Mostert

Holden Commodore ZB

55.464

12

20

Australia

Scott Pye

Holden Commodore ZB

57.148

13

14

Australia

Todd Hazelwood

Holden Commodore ZB

57.480

14

9

Australia

David Reynolds

Holden Commodore ZB

58.240

15

2

Australia

Bryce Fullwood

Holden Commodore ZB

58.466

16

55

Australia

Jack Le Brocq

Ford Mustang GT

58.792

17

7

New Zealand

Andre Heimgartner

Ford Mustang GT

1'04.567

18

15

Australia

Rick Kelly

Ford Mustang GT

1'05.279

19

44

Australia

James Courtney

Ford Mustang GT

1'12.926

20

19

Australia

Alex Davison

Holden Commodore ZB

1'15.525

21

22

New Zealand

Chris Pither

Holden Commodore ZB

1'19.407

22

35

Australia

Garry Jacobson

Holden Commodore ZB

1'20.285

23

4

Australia

Jack Smith

Holden Commodore ZB

1'20.480

24

34

Australia

Zane Goddard

Holden Commodore ZB

1'20.642

View full results