Scott McLaughlin made it three wins from three starts at the CoreStaff Darwin SuperSprint, proving unstoppable during Supercars’ second weekend in the Top End.
The third 38-lap contest was another straightforward affair for the two-time defending champion, taking the lead from the outside of the front-row and never looking threatened.
This weekend’s clean sweep has extended McLaughlin’s Virgin Australia Supercars Championship points lead to 177-points over Jamie Whincup, next best is Whincup’s teammate Shane van Gisbergen who is 345-points off the Shell Mustang ace.
In qualifying this morning McLaughlin and van Gisbergen claimed the two pole positions on offer. McLaughlin started from pole for Race 17, van Gisbergen for race 18.
In the opening race, McLaughlin had the perfect start and from there wasn’t challenged, streaking away to win from van Gisbergen, who held off the fast-finishing DeWalt Racing Commodore of Scott Pye. Whincup finished Race 17 in sixth position.
The third 38-lap contest was another straightforward affair for two-time defending champion McLaughlin, taking the lead from the outside of the front-row and never looking threatened.
McLaughlin cruised to a 13.8-second victory over Brad Jones Racing’s Nick Percat, while Scott Pye scored his second podium in as many races for Team 18.
Click here for full Race 18 results
Extending his championship lead, McLaughlin also picked up the one-off Territory 2.0 trophy, awarded to the highest points-scorer of the weekend.
“I love the track and I love it when my car is like that,” said McLaughlin.
“That’s hands-down probably the best car I have ever driven, just all weekend it was so solid.
“We had a good start and were able to use our tyres and do what we wanted to do.”
Mark Winterbottom started third and finished fourth, but it was far from an easy ride for the second Team 18 Commodore.
The 2015 champion quickly overtook Jamie Whincup and Chaz Mostert before going to work on van Gisbergen, eventually clearing the second Red Bull Commodore four laps from home.
Seventh for Whincup came despite a Turn 1 scrape with Cameron Waters on the Red Bull Holden’s outlap that broke the steering on the Monster Mustang, putting it out of the race.
Waters attempted an inside pass on Whincup, but bounced off the inside kerb, resulting in the front-wheel of the Mustang bumping into the Commodore.
Fabian Coulthard made progress from 16th on the grid to take the flag 10th, but dropped a spot thanks to a five-second time penalty for a mid-race bump-and-run on Bryce Fullwood.
After two weeks in Darwin, the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will drive across the top end to continue racing next weekend with the first of two consecutive events in Townsville, the NTI Townsville SuperSprint.
That event will be broadcast live on 10, Fox Sports 506 and streamed on Kayo.
PROVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER CORESTAFF DARWIN SUPERSPRINT
|3.||Shane van Gisbergen||-345|
|11.||Anton De Pasquale||-565|
|15.||Jack Le Brocq||-672|