McLaughlin picks up where he left off

Sunday 23 February, 2020
Images: Mark Horsburgh
Reigning Virgin Australia Supercars Champion Scott McLaughlin has had an almost perfect start to his title defence, claiming the Superloop Adelaide 500 for the second consecutive year. 

The victory came off the back of a win on Sunday’s second race, and a second place in the season opener on Saturday. 

However, the Shell V-Power Racing driver’s race victory wasn't straight forward as a pit stop strategy error from the team almost handed the race to long-time rival Shane van Gisbergen.

Unfortunately for van Gisbergen, who had started on pole, his team made a crucial error during their fuel stop, with the 2019 runner-up losing his five-second lead to make a much needed fuel stop.

McLaughlin then overtook the leader and had an unchallenged run to the chequered flag, 10 seconds ahead of Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert in second place. Rounding out the podium was Tickford’s Cameron Waters.
"Full credit to Shane and his team, they really should've won that race," McLaughlin said. 

"They had the faster car so I'll take it, we've got to take the luck when we can."

van Gisbergen’s race went from bad to worse when he finally got back on track, as he was forced to retire after suffering a right-front suspension failure with just four laps to go. 

While it was a day of heartbreak for the New Zealander, it was a solid outing for his teammate in Jamie Whincup who finished the weekend with a fifth place and a race win just 24 hours before. 

The seven-time champion’s win in the opening race of the season sent a statement to the rest of the competition with a dominant victory of his own. 

"I had a rocket today," Whincup said post-race one on Saturday.

"The car was excellent, we made the most of pole position.

"These boys [Shell V-Power Racing] are fast, but obviously we had track position, we were up the road a little bit.

"I've got to dedicate this one to Holden; it's been a bloody tough week for everyone involved and great to get a win.

"We got smoked by the other brand [Ford] here last year, so it's nice to bounce back."

The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship now has two weeks off before the running its second round as a support category during the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix on 12-15 March.

Championship Standings after Adelaide 500
1. Scott McLaughlin: 288
2. Jamie Whincup: 261
3. Chaz Mostert: 234
4. Cameron Waters: 231
5. Will Davison: 231
6. David Reynolds: 210
7. Lee Holdsworth: 171
8. Mark Winterbottom: 162
9. Fabian Coulthard: 162
10. Rick Kelly: 150