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Coulthard helped McLaughlin to overcome race start ‘burden’

Simon Chapman

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Monday 24th August, 2020 - 6:00am

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Scott McLaughlin

Shell V-Power Racing Team driver Scott McLaughlin says team-mate Fabian Coulthard helped him overcome a ‘phobia’ of race starts.

Speaking after the CoreStaff Darwin SuperSprint, the two-time Virgin Australia Supercars Championship said it had been an issue since the beginning of his career.

In 2010, the Kiwi stalled in only his second Dunlop Super2 Series start (then Development Series) at Queensland Raceway from the front row.

McLaughlin said since then it’s long been an issue. However, team-mate Coulthard has been able to help him overcome his personal gremlin.

Such has his improvement been that in his race starts from the front row McLaughlin has led the field into Turn 1 at Hidden Valley Raceway across all three races last weekend.

“Fabian has been phenomenal on the race starts,” said McLaughlin.

“Probably for the past year, I’ve always been there or thereabouts, but not consistent enough.

“Probably the last two events I’ve had six really good starts there or thereabouts. I’ve been working on having confidence with my procedure.”

“I started my career in the DVS and I kept stalling and smashing the clutch.

“I think it’s a burden that’s ridden with me for a long time, just being nervous on how much I can load the clutch and heat it.

“It’s amazing that now, in the sort of last year or so I’ve been getting confident with the clutch and having it there and not gonna stall.

“It’s probably a little bit of a phobia. We have certain things and how long he holds the clutch where and all that sort of stuff.”

McLaughlin marked a major milestone at the CoreStaff Darwin SuperSprint, eclipsing the record of Peter Brock on the all-time wins list in Supercars history.

With a clean sweep of the Darwin SuperSprint, McLaughlin notched up his 51st win.

Notably, 43 of his career wins have come in the past three-and-a-half seasons with DJR Team Penske.

The 27-year-old paid tribute to the team for its efforts to date.

“It’s been unbelievable,” he said.

“When I first joined this team you could see they were on their way up.

“They went through some pretty tough seasons. I think we’ve gone through some ups and downs through a number of years, especially last year.

“To come out this weekend and do what we did, I’m just very proud. I’m very proud of everyone.

“Pit stops were amazing. There were no mistakes. It was just a solid weekend. With car speed like we had, you’ve got to use the car when you’ve got it. We certainly did that.”

The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship resumes in Townsville for a double-header at the Reid Park Street Circuit on August 29-30 and September 5-6.

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