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The Bend Supercars: McLaughlin crowned 2020 champion

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The Bend Supercars: McLaughlin crowned 2020 champion
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Scott McLaughlin is a three-time Supercars champion, the Kiwi sealing the title with a second place behind Cam Waters in the final race at The Bend.

Only needing to finish ahead of Jamie Whincup to seal the title, McLaughlin wasted little energy trying to race Waters across the 32-lapper.

Instead his focus was on the third-placed Red Bull Holden, McLaughlin covering off Whincup's Lap 8 stop on Lap 9 to ensure his track position was never under threat.

He seemed to have his rival covered on pace anyway, McLaughlin cruising to second place, 3.3s behind Waters but crucially 1.6s ahead of Whincup, to put a third-straight title beyond doubt ahead of next month's Bathurst 1000.

"It's awesome," said McLaughlin. "It feels weird not being able to celebrate with the fans. 

"Now we've got the big one we can fully focus on, Bathurst. [We can] have a massive crack at it. 

"It's been an awesome battle with Jamie thought the whole year. I'm stoked." 

Whincup added: "Big congrats to Scotty and his team for an amazing year. We did everything we could to try and take the championship to Bathurst, but we just weren't quite quick enough. You've got to be consistent as well, and we just weren't quite there."

It's the first time since Mark Skaife in 2001 and 2002 that a driver has won the title with a round to spare two years in a row, McLaughlin having sealed the 2019 crown at Sandown last November.

Waters, meanwhile, took advantage of the title fight to secure a first single-driver career race win. Thanks to a clean getaway from the outside of the front row he was able to muscle across on McLaughlin, knowing the points leader would yield with an eye on the bigger picture.

The plan worked a treat, Waters never looking back once in front as charged to a first win since he and Richie Stanaway won the Sandown 500 in 2017.

"The car was awesome, we made it a bit better between the two races," said Waters. "I just needed to get a good start and I was away. I'm absolutely pumped." 

Nick Percat finished fourth, while Shane van Gisbergen put in a huge drive to go from 22nd on the grid to fifth. The T8 driver made good progress on a long first stint, before using his superior tyre condition to charge into the top five by the finish.

Race 3 results:

Cla # Driver Car Gap
1 6 Australia Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT  
2 17 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin Ford Mustang GT 3.359
3 88 Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 4.953
4 8 Australia Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 7.360
5 97 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 7.703
6 25 Australia Chaz Mostert Holden Commodore ZB 10.536
7 14 Australia Todd Hazelwood Holden Commodore ZB 11.347
8 12 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard Ford Mustang GT 11.942
9 5 Australia Lee Holdsworth Ford Mustang GT 14.248
10 44 Australia James Courtney Ford Mustang GT 20.733
11 99 Australia Anton De Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 21.264
12 20 Australia Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 21.461
13 2 Australia Bryce Fullwood Holden Commodore ZB 24.165
14 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner Ford Mustang GT 25.074
15 15 Australia Rick Kelly Ford Mustang GT 27.052
16 18 Australia Mark Winterbottom Holden Commodore ZB 27.762
17 9 Australia David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 28.579
18 3 Australia Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB 30.351
19 55 Australia Jack Le Brocq Ford Mustang GT 30.633
20 34 Australia Jake Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 32.752
21 35 Australia Garry Jacobson Holden Commodore ZB 39.065
22 4 Australia Jack Smith Holden Commodore ZB 43.577
23 22 New Zealand Chris Pither Holden Commodore ZB 47.552
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2020 Supercars The Bend Supersprint race results

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