McLaughlin: Mistake cost Volvo first-up pole
Scott McLaughlin admitted that a mistake foiled an opportunity to supply Volvo with the ultimate icebreaker in qualifying at the Clipsal 500.
In a stunning entry for the Valvoline-backed S60s, McLaughlin fell just 0.11s short of pinching what would have been a remarkable pole position for Race 2.
Initially McLaughlin downplayed his explanation, fearing negative reprisals from critics, however he admits that a mistake had cost him a coveted premature scalp for the Polestar Volvo Racing enterprise.
“I stuffed up a little bit down the back. I feel we could have had a bit more of a chance to be a bit closer to Lowndesy if not pip him given our margin was so close,” McLaughlin told Speedcafe.com.
“But at the end of the day when I was told I got P2, it was like pole to everyone at GRM.
“I didn’t expect to be in the top three this early into my career with Volvo so I’m stoked for the boys and myself and family and everyone who have backed me in my career.”
“It’s a massive thing to be on the front-row at Clipsal.
“I thought this result was achievable but beyond our expectations in some ways. It was almost a win to us.
“To be on the front row is ridiculous.”
McLaughlin had showed a glimpse of the car’s pace as early as the day’s first session; finishing fifth despite missing the first 15 minutes with a power steering issue.
What will undoubtedly be Volvo’s greatest challenge is reliability in the heat of battle.
The S60s managed to turn 100 laps at the official pre-season test but McLaughlin remains guarded about how reliable the Yamaha-sourced 4.4 litre B8444S engines will prove.
GRM have spare engines for both the McLaughlin entry and for the #34 which Swede Robert Dahlgren will pilot.
“We don’t know. Tomorrow in the race it could blow up on the first lap. It might not all weekend, we just don’t know,” McLaughlin said of reliability.
“We did at 100 laps at the test and that is the best mileage we’ve ever done.
“We’ve got spares and if it blows up we will just go back scratch our heads and see what happens. There is a spare engine each.”
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