Ford star Scott McLaughlin has claimed a third-straight win for the first time in his Supercars career with a commanding victory in Saturday’s 120km race at Winton.
The flying New Zealander continued the form he showed in Perth, where he scooped back-to-back wins, to take out the weekend’s opening race in northeast Victoria.
“I’ve won two in a row but never three – it’s pretty special,” McLaughlin said.
After starting in pole position, McLaughlin was never headed, maintaining control throughout the race.
“I had confidence that I had the car underneath me to do that, but it takes a lot to win a race in this championship,” he said.
“We got pole, the start was good and then the stop by the boys was fantastic.”
Holden’s six-time series champion Jamie Whincup finished second after a tense battle with McLaughlin’s DJR Team Penske teammate Fabian Coulthard who was third.
Whincup said McLaughlin and Coulthard had a speed advantage, but was confident his Red Bull Racing team could turn it around.
“It’s nice to just go hard the whole race; it’s almost like GT racing,” Whincup said.
“Instead of nurturing it and just trying to make the tyres survive, we were just flat stick from start to finish.
“We got the most points we could today but we certainly need more speed to go one better.”
The win catapulted McLaughlin to second on the Supercars leaderboard, 10 points adrift of Coulthard.
“It’s great to have Fabs up there too and we’re pushing each other so hard,” McLaughlin said.
“As a team, we’re working together, we’re trying different things and I guess the rewards come.
“But we’ve got to keep on our toes – it’s going to be a big fight all the way.”
Walkinshaw Racing’s James Courtney had a tumultuous race, recovering from going off the track shortly after the start only to make contact with Nick Percat on the final lap to end his day in the gravel.
Chaz Mostert, who started from second on the grid, was shattered after withdrawing with a mechanical issue on the 15th lap.
“I feel sorry for the boys. It’s upsetting for the team to go out with a mechanical issue,” Mostert said.
Qualifying for Sunday’s 67-lap race kicks off at 11:00am, with the main event at 1:45pm.