Scott McLaughlin has cruised to a comfortable win as the second leg of the Supercars Championship’s double-header in Darwin got underway.

The DJR Team Penske driver had been pipped to pole position by Jamie Whincup in qualifying by just 0.06 seconds, but took advantage of starting on the grippier side of the track to get a better launch than the Red Bull Holden Racing driver to lead the field into Turn 1.

The defending two-time champion quickly built a lead of over a second in the early laps, which gave him enough of a buffer to fend off the threat of being jumped by Whincup through the mandatory pit stops.

McLaughlin pitted at the end of Lap 7 with Whincup following suit a lap later; their relative positions remained unchanged through to the chequered flag.  The gap between this year’s main title protagonists was 2.4 seconds at the end of the 38-lap race.

“The start was really pivotal,” McLaughlin said after the race. “I was able to do my own race from then on.

“The boys’ pitstop was unbelievable, I’m proud of them, they’ve been working hard. It was a nice start to the weekend. We’ve got a few things we need to work on, but I’m pretty happy.”

Tickford Racing teammates Cameron Waters and James Courtney finished a distant third, with Waters managing to narrowly get the jump on his fellow Ford runner as he emerged from his pit stop.

While most drivers opted for an early pit stop and a long run to the finish, Nick Percat took a different approach by pitting at mid-distance which helped the Brad Jones Racing Holden driver to an eventual fifth place finish.  Erebus Motorsport’s Anton de Pasquale ran an even longer 22-lap opening stint and finished in sixth place.

Whincup’s teammate Shane van Gisbergen needed to recover from a – by his standards – poor qualifying performance and ran until Lap 24 before pitting.  He opted to take on four fresh tyres, using his superior grip later in the race to quickly pass the likes of Chaz Mostert and Fabian Coulthard before finishing in eighth place behind Lee Holdsworth’s Tickford Racing Ford.

The Darwin SuperSprint round has two further 38-lap races on Sunday.

2020 Australian Supercars Championship Darwin Triple SuperSprint – Race 16 Final Classification (38 laps)
Pos Driver Team Result
1. Scott McLaughlin Shell V-Power Racing Team 43:58.632
2. Jamie Whincup Red Bull Holden Racing Team + 2.495
3. Cameron Waters Monster Energy Racing + 15.360
4. James Courtney Boost Mobile Racing + 16.265
5. Nick Percat R&J Batteries + 17.996
6. Anton de Pasquale Penrite Racing + 18.774
7. Lee Holdsworth Truck Assist Racing + 24.564
8. Shane van Gisbergen Red Bull Holden Racing Team + 24.979
9. Chaz Mostert Walkinshaw Andretti United Mobil 1 TM Appliances + 25.833
10. Fabian Coulthard Shell V-Power Racing Team + 26.583
11. Mark Winterbottom IRWIN Racing + 28.225
12. David Reynolds Penrite Racing + 28.691
13. Scott Pye DEWALT Racing + 28.932
14. Rick Kelly Kelly Racing Castrol Racing + 34.944
15. Andre Heimgartner Kelly Racing NED Whisky Racing + 35.281
16. Todd Hazelwood Brut Military Grade + 40.014
17. Macauley Jones Team CoolDrive + 42.988
18. Alex Davison Local Legends Racing + 49.821
19. Bryce Fullwood Walkinshaw Andretti United Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing + 51.318
20. Jack Smith SCT Motor Sports + 51.437
21. Zane Goddard UNIT Racing + 1:02.436
22. Garry Jacobson Yellow Cover Racing + 1:06.844
Not Classified Team Reason
DNF. Chris Pither Team SYDNEY Mechanical
DNF. Jack Le Brocq Supercheap Auto Racing Collision

Post-Race Penalties:

  • Garry Jacobson was issued a 15-second time penalty for pit lane speeding.

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Geoff Burke

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