With Scott McLaughlin securing his ninth pole position of the season, things were definitely looking up for the young star.
After an impressive ‘11th hour’ qualifying run which saw him snatch yet another pole position, Scott McLaughlin ran a strong race and would go on to lead every lap of the 23 lap race and also set the fastest lap time with a 1:32.740 on his way to victory.
The win over Craig Lowndes, who was no more than half a second behind him during the entire race, was a strong statement from the young driver. Although the 2014 championship is out of reach for McLaughlin, race wins are not.
In an early move, Ford Performance Racing (FPR) driver, Mark Winterbottom, had a go on his rival, Jamie Whincup. Attempting to pass Whincup on the outside of ‘Doohan Corner’, ‘Frosty’ had a massive moment and went into the grass. At the time of the incident, Winterbottom was running fourth but he re-entered the racing line in seventh.
The drama just kept coming for Winterbottom, however, as he was forced to pit on Lap 7 after grass had plugged up his front intake. After the unscheduled pit-stop, ‘Frosty’ returned to the race in last position but would eventually finish in 24th.
Continuing the woes for FPR, Chaz Mostert almost sent his Ford Falcon into the tire wall after a tap from Holden Racing Team (HRT) driver, Garth Tander. Mostert, who was running just behind Whincup in fourth, rejoined the race in 21st and would finish in 15th.
SVG still fighting
For Shane van Gisbergen, who was involved in an incident during qualifying with fellow Kiwi, Fabian Coulthard, the young prodigy had to fight his way up from the back. Many know that SVG is a fighter through-and-through, but the contact with James Moffat at ‘Siberia’, which caused Moffat’s Nissan to spin, had many raising their eyebrows.
After review, however, the stewards deemed it as a racing and no further investigation was conducted.
Later on, SVG was involved in yet another incident as he turned the #21 of Dale Wood around. This time, however, he didn’t get away with it and was issued a pit-lane penalty which caused him to finish in last.
Coulthard, who also started in the rear, fought strong to finish in 16th.
Leading the pack
As the laps began to chip away, the McLaughlin and Lowndes began to separate themselves from the rest of the field. Lowndes, he never appeared to be any more than half a second behind McLaughlin, was not letting up.
The veteran driver tried all he could to catch the young gun but, in the end, couldn’t make it happen. In the end , McLaughlin, who drives the #33 Valvoline machine, won race #33 after leading every lap. It was a dominating win for the young driver who is looking to be a championship contender next season.
With McLaughlin and Lowndes taking first and second, it was Jamie Whincup who rounded up the final step of the podium. Towards the end of the race, Tander was on the back of Whincup but couldn’t get the job done. In the end, Tander would take fourth followed by Michael Caruso.
Jason Bright, David Reynolds, Todd Kelly, Scott Pye and Rick Kelly made up the top-ten, respectively.
Stay tuned for race 34 which is set to begin in the next few hours. For lap-by-lap coverage, be sure to visit V8supercars.com.