McLaughlin makes it three from four but rues the one that got away

Three out of four isn’t bad … but Kiwi driver Scott McLaughlin could only think of the clean sweep that might have been after winning the fourth and final Supercar race at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix Supercar round on Sunday.

The 2018 Supercar champion had looked on course to monopolise the event at lunchtime on Saturday.

He had won the first two races of the round and was set fair to make it three on Saturday evening only to be taken out of contention for the third race when he and Cam Waters made contact on the warm up lap.

Both pole sitter McLaughlin and Waters, who had been due to start from second spot in that race, could not take part.

So when McLaughlin took the chequered flag in the fourth race, the curtain raiser for the first grand prix of the new season with Chaz Mosert second and Jamie Whincup third, the events of Saturday night were still top of his mind – especially the championship points he was forced to forego as a result of the altercation with Waters.

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”It’s three out of three anyway, it should have been four. We got taken out by unforeseen circumstances, it was a bit annoying, but today was a good win and good bounce back and further evidence that we have a better car this weekend,” the DJR Penske Mustang driver said.

”It pissed me off a lot, but you have to build on it. Humans are humans and we make mistakes everyone of us. I probably didn’t help my part, he didn’t help his part, it was an annoying incident for both of us.

”Today was tough. It was the toughest race of the weekend. Chaz is fast and was pushing. I got a good start and just got away with it.”

McLaughlin has dedicated his race wins this weekend to his countrymen in New Zealand trying to come to grips with the horrors of Friday’s terrorist atrocity when up to 50 worshippers were killed in a Mosque shooting in Christchurch, his home town.

”It’s good to hear God Defend New Zealand. It’s the best song in the world,” he said after hearing the national anthem played out all around the Albert Park circuit following his triumph on Sunday.

Second placegetter Chaz Mostert also enjoyed a good weekend – good enough for him to have won the Larry Perkins Trophy awarded to the driver who amassed the most points in the four races.
(McLaughlin would almost certainly have done so, but his pre-race crash prevented him from picking up any points in race three).

Not that that bothered Mostert, whose car performed much better in the races than it did in qualifying – something he wants his engineers to work on before the next round.

”The car is pretty good in race trim so now we have to make it better for qualifying. This weekend we managed to pick it up, but we still have a few things to work on to make it faster for qualifying.

”It’s pretty cool to get the Larry Perkins trophy. He was an awesome engineer and an awesome driver.”

Whincup said: ”It was a tough weekend, we just didn’t have the pace to run with the front guys, but we did what we could, just hung in there to maximise our result … P2 for the weekend was pretty good.

McLaughlin heads the title race standings after two rounds with 500 points ahead of the veteran and multiple champion Whincup (469) with Mostert (437) in third place.

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