Defending Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin has extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings with victory in this weekend’s third and final race at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The DJR Team Penske driver was able to fend off a threat from the Tickford Racing Ford of Lee Holdsworth, with the Ford drivers separated by just 1.5 seconds at the flag.

McLaughlin converted his pole position into an early lead, easing away from Jamie Whincup’s Red Bull Holden in the opening laps to pull out a five-second margin before the latter made his compulsory pit stop on Lap 13.

While Whincup opted to change just two tyres, McLaughlin pitted a lap later and opted to change all four tyres for the run home. The faster pit stop by the Red Bull crew allowed Whincup to cut McLaughlin’s theoretical race lead down to just one second, but the DJR Team Penske driver was always going to benefit from superior tyre grip and quickly pulled away.

Holdsworth, meanwhile, ran an alternate strategy and pitted much later in the race. Having saved fresh tyres for the final race, he was able to carve his way up the order after making his pit stop. He ran out of laps to get a chance at challenging McLaughlin.

Whincup faded to finish a distant third, but had more than ten seconds to fourth-placed David Reynolds.

The Erebus Holden driver led a gaggle of cars across the finish line, narrowly holding off Mark Winterbottom’s CS Racing Holden and Whincup’s teammate Shane van Gisbergen, who struggled for pace. Reynolds’ teammate Anton De Pasquale the Brad Jones Racing Holdens of Todd Hazelwood Nick Percat were also in hot pursuit, while the WAU Holden of rookie Bryce Fullwood rounded out the top ten.

It was a bad day for McLaughlin’s teammate Fabian Coulthard, who ran unconvincingly in the midfield before his Ford ground to a halt on the final lap of the race.

McLaughlin heads into the next round of the season, the Winton SuperSprint on 18-19 July, with a 49-point lead to Whincup.

2020 Australian Supercars Championship Sydney SuperSprint – Race 9 Final Classification (32 laps)
Pos Driver Team Result
1. Scott McLaughlin Shell V-Power Racing Team 50:20.268
2. Lee Holdsworth Truck Assist Racing + 1.519
3. Jamie Whincup Red Bull Holden Racing Team + 11.250
4. David Reynolds Penrite Racing + 24.428
5. Mark Winterbottom IRWIN Racing + 25.647
6. Shane van Gisbergen Red Bull Holden Racing Team + 26.517
7. Anton de Pasquale Penrite Racing + 26.949
8. Todd Hazelwood Brut Military Grade + 27.128
9. Nick Percat Dunlop Super Dealer Racing + 27.997
10. Bryce Fullwood Walkinshaw Andretti United Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing + 28.748
11. Jack Le Brocq Supercheap Auto Racing + 31.858
12. Scott Pye DEWALT Racing + 35.647
13. Cameron Waters Monster Energy Racing + 36.859
14. James Courtney Boost Mobile Racing + 37.461
15. Andre Heimgartner Kelly Racing NED Whisky Racing + 40.662
16. Chaz Mostert Walkinshaw Andretti United Mobil 1 TM Appliances + 43.754
17. Rick Kelly Kelly Racing Castrol Racing + 46.657
18. Jack Smith SCT Motor Sports + 47.015
19. Garry Jacobson Yellow Cover Racing + 48.062
20. Macauley Jones Team CoolDrive + 49.399
21. Alex Davison Local Legends Racing + 49.829
22. Jake Kostecki UNIT Racing + 50.596
23. Chris Pither Team SYDNEY + 1:17.382
Not Classified Team Reason
DNF. Fabian Coulthard Shell V-Power Racing Team Mechanical

Post-Race Penalties:

  • To be advised

Image via DJR Team Penske

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Geoff Burke

Journalist at MotorsportM8
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