The Bend Supercars: McLaughlin wins tense opener

Scott McLaughlin held off Shane van Gisbergen to win a tense opening Supercars race at The Bend.

The Bend Supercars: McLaughlin wins tense opener

The DJR Team Penske driver made light work of the start, storming into the lead from pole ahead of Jack Le Brocq and van Gisbergen.

Le Brocq kept McLaughlin honest across a short first stint, too, before diving into the pits to try and undercut the leader on Lap 6.

It didn't work, McLaughlin stopping a lap later to cover Le Brocq off, but it didn't inadvertently bring van Gisbergen into the game.

As usual the Triple Eight crew decided to run long with the #97, van Gisbergen not taking his mandatory service until Lap 15. He resumed in second place and, with fresher rear tyres, was able to quickly slash McLaughlin's three-second lead down to a few tenths.

But that was as close as he could get, McLaughlin holding his nerve with mirrors full of van Gisbergen to take a 12th victory of the season, and 55th of his career to match Garth Tander in fourth on the all-time winners list.

"Overall I'm really happy," said McLaughlin. "Shane was coming at me really hard there. I tried to leave a little bit in the bank when he was coming at me, to charge on when he really got to me. That plan worked for me."

Van Gisbergen, meanwhile, was left to rue the decision to take on new rears rather than left-hand tyres at his stop.

"I ran a bit long and did rears," he explained. "I caught Scotty but he was just too good. Maybe if we did the side [tyres] I would have had a bit more front grip. But [there was] a bit of aero wash and he was putting the car perfectly, I couldn't even get close enough to have a lunge."

Cam Waters finished a lonely third, having benefited from some bad luck from teammate Le Brocq, whose Tickford Ford coughed on the way out of Turn 6 not long after his stop.

That helped Waters close the gap, before taking the final spot on the podium from Le Brocq on Lap 16.

In terms of the title fight, Jamie Whincup dropped more points with a relatively lowly 10th place finish. The T8 driver made good initial progress, going from 14th on the grid to 11th on the first lap, but ultimately found himself stuck in the middle of a three-car train with Fabian Coulthard and Chaz Mostert.

McLaughlin now holds a 263-point advantage over Whincup, with 300 the magic number for the Kiwi to seal a third-straight title this weekend.

Race results:

Cla # Driver Car Gap
1 17 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin Ford Mustang GT  
2 97 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 0.647
3 6 Australia Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT 6.419
4 55 Australia Jack Le Brocq Ford Mustang GT 11.301
5 99 Australia Anton De Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 13.015
6 8 Australia Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 13.771
7 44 Australia James Courtney Ford Mustang GT 20.987
8 18 Australia Mark Winterbottom Holden Commodore ZB 21.855
9 12 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard Ford Mustang GT 22.898
10 88 Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 23.233
11 25 Australia Chaz Mostert Holden Commodore ZB 23.566
12 20 Australia Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 26.238
13 5 Australia Lee Holdsworth Ford Mustang GT 26.574
14 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner Ford Mustang GT 29.331
15 2 Australia Bryce Fullwood Holden Commodore ZB 29.725
16 9 Australia David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 30.857
17 3 Australia Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB 32.103
18 35 Australia Garry Jacobson Holden Commodore ZB 33.220
19 14 Australia Todd Hazelwood Holden Commodore ZB 33.479
20 22 New Zealand Chris Pither Holden Commodore ZB 43.317
21 4 Australia Jack Smith Holden Commodore ZB 51.065
22 19 Australia Alex Davison Holden Commodore ZB 51.630
23 15 Australia Rick Kelly Ford Mustang GT 51.853
  34 Australia Jake Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 26 Laps
shares
comments
The Bend Supercars: McLaughlin takes pole, Whincup 14th
Previous article

The Bend Supercars: McLaughlin takes pole, Whincup 14th

Next article

Aero playing to McLaughlin's strength – van Gisbergen

Aero playing to McLaughlin's strength – van Gisbergen
Load comments
Why Courtney and Tickford are a dream match Prime

Why Courtney and Tickford are a dream match

James Courtney has been around the block in his motorsport career it's fair to say. After a single-seater career cut short, he's won everything there is to win in Supercars. Following a rocky ride recently in the Australian category, he's found a happy hunting ground with Tickford Racing.

Supercars
Oct 21, 2021
How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star Prime

How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star

His decision to leave Brad Jones Racing was the biggest shock of the Australian Supercars silly season so far. But for Nick Percat, it comes as the culmination of a personal journey that has made him into one of the most rounded drivers in the series, now in search of a seat that can make him a champion

Supercars
Sep 17, 2021
Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8 Prime

Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8

On the face of it, picking an 18-year-old rookie to replace arguably the greatest Supercars driver of all time is a risky move. But as Jamie Whincup takes up a team principal role and hands his car to Broc Feeney, it's one that he is confident will be rewarded in the fullness of time - time which wasn't afforded to Whincup in his early days

Supercars
Sep 1, 2021
How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention Prime

How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention

After his fledgling career was paused by a battle with testicular cancer, Thomas Randle then had to wrestle with finding a drive in Supercars after he got the all-clear. It's been a long road for the Melbourne native but, after two lengthy battles, he's finally got a full-time drive to look forward to

Supercars
Jun 29, 2021
How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle Prime

How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle

With Supercars’ Gen3 era on the horizon, a shift is set to take place – in more ways than one – but, as has become clear in recent weeks, the plan to bin the stick and use paddles with electronic assisted shift has been met with fierce opposition

Supercars
May 24, 2021
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Prime

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

Roger Penske's whirlwind Australian Supercars sojourn is over. After six seasons, three drivers' titles, three teams' championships and a Bathurst 1000 crown, The Captain has sold his controlling stake in Dick Johnson Racing back to the squad and walked away from the category.

Supercars
Feb 26, 2021
Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader? Prime

Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader?

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But does he have what it takes to be the new Roland Dane?

Supercars
Feb 8, 2021
How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year Prime

How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year

David Reynolds inked what was effectively a lifetime deal with Erebus in 2019 – only to walk out a year later. What went wrong?

Supercars
Dec 18, 2020