Scott McLaughlin has continued to assert his dominance in this year’s Supercars season, winning his fourth straight race in another lights to flag victory around the Albert Park Circuit
The defending series champion led from pole and never looked back throughout the sprint race, winning the 1000th race in Australian Touring Car Championship history to further extend his lead in this year’s championship.
Friday race winner Scott McLaughlin started on pole for the historic race, pipping Chaz Mostert to the top spot by a tiny margin as the Fords locked out the front row. Jamie Whincup also qualified within a tenth of McLaughlin but started third, splitting the two lead Mustangs and followed by Cam Waters, Fabian Coulthard and Will Davison.
Erebus had both David Reynolds and Anton de Pasquale on the fourth row with the fifth row of the grid being taken up by Tim Slade and Mark Winterbottom.
For the second day in a row, McLaughlin rocketed off the line, getting the holeshot into turn one as Whincup followed with Waters moving up past Mostert who dropped to fourth. A loose Whincup ran wide at the first turn, unleashing Waters to chase after McLaughlin as Davison and David Reynolds fought for seventh.
The opening laps saw McLaughlin start to get a gap over Waters but Whincup looked to struggle, losing touch of those in front while Mostert hounded him for the final step of the podium, being held up which allowed Coulthard to range up on the pair.
Mostert finally got the job done on lap four, leaving Whincup exposed to Coulthard who took advantage of the Triple Eight Commodore’s compromised exit from turn 13 to get himself closer, looking to make a move soon.
McLaughlin held a firm lead at the halfway mark, some two seconds ahead of Waters who was preparing to be kept busy with his team-mate Mostert who was on a charge, the battle allowing the leader to streak ahead out front.
On lap nine, the Tickford team-mates finally changed positions, racing without team orders and putting on a show which saw Mostert as the benefactor, moving back up to second position.
In the dying laps, Whincup was on a charge, making use of his good tyre life at the end of the stint to threaten Cam Waters for the final podium spot. Despite his stronger pace, the seven-time champion couldn’t get the move done, making it an all-Mustang podium.
McLaughlin came home in clear air for the victory, leading home Mostert and Waters in the top three spots, the first time since 2009 that Ford has clean-swept the podium in two races consecutively.
Whincup had to make do with fourth place while Coulthard held off Davison for fifth place. Reynolds was the best of the rest with Slade close behind him. The battle for ninth went down to the line as a bump by Shane van Gisbergen on James Courtney actually helped the latter driver to keep his position.
Pic via Ignite Image