McLaughlin labels Race 12 triumph as best ever
Scott McLaughlin has declared his impressive come from behind win in Race 12 at the Perth SuperSprint as his best race in Supercars.
The Shell V-Power Racing driver produced a stunning drive from 19th on the grid to score his fifth win of the season and fourth in a row.
McLaughlin admitted it was his fault for a stumble in qualifying that saw him miss out on Q2 and Q3 but repaid his team by executing a perfect three stop strategy, while managing his rubber on a tricky Barbagallo Raceway track surface.
The New Zealander felt fifth was realistically his best hope after his qualifying error.
“That was the best race I’ve ever raced,” said McLaughlin.
“I think the start, everything, the pit stops I felt like every time I stopped on the marks it was fantastic.
“I knew we were in a good spot. After that first Safety Car I was like ‘we’re fifth here on the road’ and I was like, ‘even if we get out here fifth I’m stoked’ from where we were.
“As a whole, for me, (that was) the best team race I think that I’ve ever had at DJR Team Penske,” he concluded.
On the opening lap McLaughlin found himself caught in a skirmish in the pack that saw him narrowly miss contact at Turn 5.
“It was loose at the start, man. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.
“Luckily, I was on the right side of everything that happened; I was on the right, on the inside of the Turn 4 thing, Turn 5, and then on the inside when Caruso and Davison came together (at Turn 6).”
The early Safety Car also fell in the championship leader’s favour as he gained five places in the lane.
From that point McLaughlin says strong tyre life and smart strategy calls from the team allowed him to seal an unlikely victory.
“The Safety Car really fell in our hands because I came up behind obviously Slade, he had Percat who he was trying to double stack behind, the Red Bull guys as well (had to stack), so that worked in our favour,” said McLaughlin.
“We’d obviously taken a lot of fuel on in that first stop, and obviously short filled to get some position, track position, and use my speed (at the second stop), and use my tyre life, and then that enabled that last stop to not be as stressful.
“I think we just really used our tyre life to the best of our ability. I think we had a lot up our sleeve yesterday.
“The car was fantastic, (and) equal to that I was lucky.
“I had a really good start, picked the right spots, got through on the right people at the right times.”
McLaughlin has now won the last four Supercars races and holds a 158 point advantage over second placed Shane van Gisbergen.
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship next heads to Winton on May 18-20, a venue where McLaughlin emerged victorious in Saturday’s race 12 months ago.