Scott McLaughlin says that the manner in which he surrendered position to Shane van Gisbergen is not indicative of how he plans to fight in his pursuit of a second championship.
Though he finished behind van Gisbergen, his nearest championship rival, in the opening race of the weekend, the Shell V-Power Racing Team driver maintains a commanding lead in the drivers’ standings.
McLaughlin was already a chance of wrapping up the Supercars Championship today and is now even closer to going back-to-back, but is not planning to take a conservative approach.
He qualified on Armor All Pole Position for Race 26 on the Gold Coast before co-driver Alexandre Premat was bested off the line by the fast starting Craig Lowndes.
Holding second for much of the race, McLaughlin succumbed to a charging van Gisbergen, who took his final stop 15 laps later than his Kiwi countryman in the 102-lap encounter.
McLaughlin backed out of a possible door to door battle as the pair drag raced towards the front chicane.
The conservative approach was one born from the realities of the way the race unfolded, with the DJR Team Penske driver suggesting it may not be the same case tomorrow.
“That was purely because he had 10, 20 laps younger tyres than mine and it was inevitable that he was going to pass me at one point,” McLaughlin said when asked about the pass by Speedcafe.com.
“He had a pretty good run, there was no point fighting going into a pretty risk point. So I guess that’s just racing.
“For me tomorrow it’s just, like I said, I don’t need to be conservative, I need to just go out there and do the best job we can and see if we can get as many points as we can.
“If not, like I said we’ll come back (and try to win the championship in) the next couple rounds.
“I’ll have a crack, I always do,” he added.
“Obviously thinking big picture, if we can wrap it up tomorrow that is absolutely a thing that we’ll think about but we’ll worry about it when we get there.”
McLaughlin holds a 613 point advantage heading into tomorrow’s race, in which victory is worth 150 points, with a maximum of 750 available for the balance of the season.
“We got two rounds after this as well, so we’ve got time,” said McLaughlin.
“Our main focus tomorrow is trying to win.
“The minute you take it half throttle and worry about points and all that sort of stuff, that’s when bad things happen.”
Supercars heads straight into qualifying for Race 26 of the season at 0955 local time/1055 AEDT Sunday morning, ahead of another Armor All Top 10 Shootout and the afternoon’s 102-lap race.