McLaughlin closes on Dunlop title as rivals falter

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin leads Scott Pye in Sydney

Scott McLaughlin is in the box seat to secure the 2012 Dunlop Series title at Sydney Olympic Park tomorrow after taking advantage of mistakes from rivals Chaz Mostert and Nick Percat in Race 1.

McLaughlin was left to hold off the advances of Triple Eight’s Scott Pye after front-row starters Mostert and Percat crashed in separate incidents on the first lap.

Mostert led into Turn 1 but arrived too quickly, locking his left-front tyre before bouncing off the outside wall.

The Ford Performance Racing driver quickly reversed into the tail end of the field – a move that would later earn him a drive-through penalty.

Percat assumed the lead but soon made contact with the Turn 5 exit wall while under pressure from McLaughlin, putting the Coates Hire Racing Holden out of both the race and title contention.

The gap between McLaughlin and Pye hovered between 0.5s and one second throughout the entire 17 lap journey, with the Monster Holden never close enough to make a move.

McLaughlin leads the championship by 94 points over Pye with 150 still up for grabs tomorrow.

Dale Wood drove a quiet race to finish third, some 13 seconds adrift of the lead battle, while Andrew Jones and Geoff Emery rounded out the top five.

Having dropped to 14th on the opening lap, Mostert recovered to fourth before dropping back to ninth when taking his drive-through on Lap 11.

The former Formula Ford champion eventually finished sixth and remains in mathematical title contention, 105 points adrift of McLaughlin.

Aaren Russell, Luke Youlden, Drew Russell and Marcus Zukanovic filled seventh through 10th at the flag, with Youlden having driven through from the rear of the grid after a difficult qualifying session this morning.

Ash Walsh failed to take the start in his Matt Stone Racing Falcon following his qualifying crash this morning, ensuring Youlden and Matthew White Motorsport the Privateers Cup award for the season.

Result: Dunlop Series Race 1, Sydney Olympic Park

1 Fujitsu Racing Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG 17 25:52.2015
2 Triple Eight Race Engineering Scott Pye Holden Commodore VE 17 25:52.8159
3 GB Galvanizing/Wilson Tech Dale Wood Holden Commodore VE 17 26:05.9416
4 Kitten Racing Andrew Jones Holden Commodore VE 17 26:10.9189
5 R&J Batteries/Wurth Geoff Emery Holden Commodore VE 17 26:25.8475
6 Ford Performance Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG 17 26:26.0189
7 Go Karts Go/CEG Rentals Aaren Russell Ford Falcon BF 17 26:27.6009
8 MW Motorsport Luke Youlden Ford Falcon BF 17 26:27.9525
9 GoKartsGo/Carrington Equipmen Drew Russell Ford Falcon BF 17 26:32.5172
10 GSS Mining Rentals Marcus Zukanovic Holden Commodore VE 17 26:54.8279
11 Bob Jane T-Marts Rodney Jane Ford Falcon FG 17 26:57.7456
12 Bob Jane T-Marts/Sitech/Sonic George Miedecke Ford Falcon BF 17 26:59.0191
13 Formula Tech/Interquip Racing Brett Stewart Holden Commodore VE 17 27:02.8815
14 Earth Ex/Tricor Jim Pollicina Holden Commodore VE 16 27:01.4572
15 Carrington Equipment Group Michael Hector Ford Falcon BF 14 26:03.5562
DNF Pacific Hoists Nandi Kiss Holden Commodore VE  4  9:16.0010
DNF MW Motorsport Morgan Haber Ford Falcon FG  2  4:20.6714
DNF Coates Hire Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore VE2    

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