After four months of no racing, McLaughlin ended up picking up where he left off from February’s Adelaide Superloop 500, leading the field from start to finish.
It did not come easy for the reigning champion though as Shane van Gisbergen piled on immense pressure during the race, especially in the final five laps where the two New Zealanders were only separated by centimetres.
However McLaughlin defended his lead and took out his second victory for the 2020 campaign, crossing the line just two tenths of second ahead of his fellow Kiwi.
“He (van Gisbergen) was like a cockroach, I could never get rid of him,” McLaughlin said post-race.
“It was an unbelievable race and a great battle. I was in a little bit of trouble during the last stint because the way Shane came at me there, so we have a little bit of work to do in regards how to we tune tomorrow.
“However you take these when you get them though and it was a tough five laps. I did the best I could and thankfully we came out on top but it was really great racing.
“It feels so good to be back. Especially when you have silverware next to you and you have it in front of the purple board. It’s fantastic.”
For van Gisbergen, it was a tough race and the team’s tyre strategy almost paid off. While he didn’t get the win, he was still happy to finish in second.
“It was a pretty decent race but I couldn’t do much with the dirty air,” van Gisbergen said.
“We tried to do a different strategy to go along with Scott. We almost caught him but an understeer cost us. It’s been hard to pass but we will try something new tomorrow.
“Qualifying was good, car is nice to drive but we just need to get out front so we have clean air.”
Finishing in the final podium spot a further 10 seconds behind was van Gisbergen’s Triple Eight teammate in Jamie Whincup, while Chaz Mostert and Nick Percat rounded out the top five.
The BPUltimate Sydney SuperSprint continues tomorrow with the first of two races to begin at 12:15pm AEST.