Scott McLaughlin’s road to redemption repeated itself with a comeback win at the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 at Albert Park, resuming his bid for back-to-back Supercars Championships.
The young Kiwi took the fourth and final race in his Shell V-Power Mustang from Supercheap Auto Racing’s Chaz Mostert and Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s Jamie Whincup following a bizarre accident on the way to the grid on Saturday.
McLaughlin was intent on putting the circumstances of his tangle with Cameron Waters on Saturday by claiming full points in the last race. It was his fifth win of the six races so far this season.
The pair, both starting from the front row of the grid, took themselves out on the way to the start line on Saturday, costing McLaughlin big Championship points. Neither was deemed at fault by the officials with the penalty of zero points no doubt sufficient penalty in its own right.
“I don’t count we started yesterday’s race, so let’s go five from five,” McLaughlin laughed.
“You can’t dwell on it, you’ve got to focus and get on with things. There’s a lot worse things to happen in the world and we’ll push on, this is just a blip on our radar.
“This is for everyone in New Zealand.”
Mostert won the Larry Perkins Trophy for the most points from the weekend which was made easier with McLaughlin’s Saturday struggles. He took the sought after trophy, making up for a run of poor luck to open the season.
Second for Mostert made it three podiums from the Albert Park weekend’s four races, accompanied by fifth in the opener.
“The car is pretty good in race trim, now we’ve just got to dial it up a bit for the next round,” he said. “Overall I am super-pumped. To get the Larry Perkins award is pretty cool.”
McLaughlin wound up second in the Larry Perkins Trophy points, and is McLaughlin’s closest championship challenger, 31 adrift.
Tickford pair Cameron Waters and Will Davison rounded out Sunday’s top five which included four Mustangs. Mark Winterbottom, Tim Slade and David Reynolds occupied sixth, seventh and eighth, ahead of Lee Holdsworth and Scott Pye.
Shane van Gisbergen’s disastrous weekend went from bad to worse following an engine failure on Friday, lost wheel on Saturday and then a 15 second penalty on Sunday for a tangle with Fabian Coulthard. As a result the former Champion is now well back in the Championship.
As it now stands McLaughlin leads the Championship by 31 points from Whincup followed by Mostert in third, Will Davison in fourth and Slade in fifth.
The next round of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint, held at Symmons Plains Raceway from 5-7 April.