McLaughlin holds off Lowndes for Race 33 victory

Scott McLaughlin secured his third win of the season in Race 33

Scott McLaughlin secured his third win of the season in Race 33

Scott McLaughlin held firm under pressure from Red Bull Racing’s Craig Lowndes to claim his third victory of the season in Race 33 at the Plus Fitness Phillip Island 400.

The Volvo driver completed a lights-to-flag victory from pole position at the Victorian circuit, but it was far from a simple win.

Lowndes and Jamie Whincup chased the Kiwi throughout the 23 lap contest but he refused to buckle under the mounting pressure from the Triple Eight duo, who finished second and third respectively.

Whincup is now likely to wrap up a record breaking sixth championship later today after title rival Mark Winterbottom could only finish in 24th position after a mistake early in the race.

McLaughlin made no mistakes at the start as he led the field into Turn 1 with Lowndes jumping Whincup to slot into second spot.

The Ford Performance Racing duo of Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert moved into fourth and fifth ahead of the Nissan of Michael Caruso.

There was drama behind as Russell Ingall was slow away from the grid which saw him drop right down the order.

At the front McLaughlin quickly began to scamper away with Lowndes in tow, while Winterbottom heaped the pressure on third-placed Whincup.

However, the man on the move was Holden’s Garth Tander as he moved into sixth from ninth on the grid with a pass on Caruso at the hairpin.

But Winterbottom’s charge soon came to an end when he ran wide while trying to pass Whincup around the outside of Turn 1. The FPR driver seemed to have the move completed but was unable to scrub off enough speed to make the corner and ran deep onto the grass.

He was forced to come into the pits to clear grass from the front of his car which dropped him to the back of the pack.

Tander continued his charge up the order as he robustly found his way around Mostert for fourth following Winterbottom’s demise. Mostert lost ground after being forced wide by the Western Australian.

The fight for the victory began to intensify as the race ticked towards the halfway mark with McLaughlin being shadowed by both Lowndes and Whincup.

Meanwhile, Shane van Gisbergen was in the thick of the action as he tried to charge from the rear of the grid. The Kiwi tipped the Nissan of James Moffat into a spin but no action was taken from the stewards.

Van Gisbergen’s wild race continued when he made contact with Dale Wood with two laps remaining. A drive-through penalty was awarded for the collision.

In the end, there was no stopping McLaughlin, who just held off Lowndes at the chequered flag.

“I’m pretty screwed – I’m stuffed,” said McLaughlin.

“That was awesome fun and it was a great battle with Lowndesy.

“Even in my second year I never thought I would be this successful. You know I have got a long way to go to be like this bloke next to me (Lowndes), but I’m enjoying the ride.”

Whincup hung on to third from a hard charging Tander while Nissan’s Caruso came home in fifth ahead of Brad Jones Racing’s Jason Bright.

“That was a tough battle out there,” said Whincup. The boys were putting out a serious pace and I was just trying to hang on really.

“The tyre life was not the best. Garth had serious pace at the end. If we don’t do something he’ll run over the top of us in the next one.

“The pace out there was crazy so I was happy to hang on really.”



Pos No. Driver Team Car
1   33  Scott McLaughlin  Valvoline Racing GRM  Volvo S60
2  888  Craig Lowndes  Red Bull Racing Australia  Holden Commodore VF
3    1  Jamie Whincup  Red Bull Racing Australia  Holden Commodore VF
4    2  Garth Tander  Holden Racing Team  Holden Commodore VF
5   36  Michael Caruso  Norton Hornets  Nissan Altima
6    8  Jason Bright  Team BOC  Holden Commodore VF
7   55  David Reynolds  The Bottle-O Racing Team  Ford Falcon FG
8    7  Todd Kelly  Jack Daniel’s Racing  Nissan Altima
9   16  Scott Pye  Wilson Security Racing  Ford Falcon FG
10   15  Rick Kelly  Jack Daniel’s Racing  Nissan Altima
11  222  Nick Percat  Walkinshaw Racing  Holden Commodore VF
12    9  Will Davison  Erebus Motorsport V8  Mercedes E63 AMG
13   47  Tim Slade  Supercheap Auto Racing  Holden Commodore VF
14   22  James Courtney  Holden Racing Team  Holden Commodore VF
15    6  Chaz Mostert  Ford Pepsi Max Crew  Ford Falcon FG
16   14  Fabian Coulthard  Lockwood Racing  Holden Commodore VF
17   18  Jack Perkins  Team JELD-WEN  Ford Falcon FG
18   17  David Wall  Wilson Security Racing  Ford Falcon FG
19  360  James Moffat  Norton Hornets  Nissan Altima
20    4  Lee Holdsworth  Erebus Motorsport V8  Mercedes E63 AMG
21   23  Russell Ingall  Repair Management Aust Racing  Holden Commodore VF
22   34  Robert Dahlgren  Valvoline Racing GRM  Volvo S60
23   21  Dale Wood  Team Advam/GB  Holden Commodore VF
24    5  Mark Winterbottom  Ford Pepsi Max Crew  Ford Falcon FG
25   97  Shane Van Gisbergen  Team Tekno VIP Petfoods  Holden Commodore VF



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