Scott McLaughlin says his seventh place finish in Race 19 at Townsville will go a long way to building his bid for a third Supercars Championship crown.
As a result of a mistake on his final flying lap, McLaughlin failed to make it into the Top 10 Shootout, setting only the 16th fastest time in the second phase of qualifying.
The two-time Virgin Australia Supercars Championship winner said making the most of a bad situation was important as he looks to secure his third successive title.
“We had a fast enough car to be in front, right up there in the (Top 10) Shootout, and that didn’t happen,” McLaughlin said.
“So it was about maximising what we had from 16th and the only way (was) forward.
“We ideally put a rubber mark stamp on being 10th or better. I said to the boys seventh and we agreed seventh would be like a tiny win. So to get seventh was fantastic; nearly got sixth or fifth.
“The championship is all about maximising your bads days and I’ve said it heaps of times before, these days build yourself to a championship.
“We lost 30-something points, it could’ve been a lot worse. Overall, we’ll just move on and see how we go.”
The Shell V-Power Racing Team driver said he had ‘a bit of luck’ on Lap 1.
The Kiwi avoided the worst of a Turn 2 crash on the opening lap, which claimed the car of Macauley Jones and resulted in significant damage to Shane van Gisbergen, Andre Heimgartner, and Todd Hazelwood.
McLaughlin came away with rear-end damage to his Ford Mustang after Alex Davison drove into the back of the Kiwi as a result of contact from Zane Goddard behind him.
Having been involved in a lap one incident at the same circuit last year, McLaughlin said he took a cautious approach to the first lap and could see what was about to unfold.
“I did the same thing last year and got whacked up the backside,” said McLaughlin in reference to his collision with David Reynolds in 2019.
“Same thing again, but got lucky this time. I got a good start. Ideally, if I was going to get boxed out, I was going to go to the outside, but I managed to find a slot on the inside and I thought ‘oh, this will be alright’.
“I braked where I thought was right and everyone just went so much deeper than I expected, people gained like a car length on me into (Turn 2).
“I thought ‘oh, there’s definitely going to be something happen here’ so it was all just about trying to stay as close as I could to the kerb.
“Luck was on my side. At the end of the day, you’ve still got to put yourself in that position. I was happy that I didn’t understeer or lock up myself.
“The only bad thing out of that whole situation was I copped a fair hit up the rear, which was a fair bit of damage but I managed to soldier on.”
After Jamie Whincup claimed his 11th win at the Reid Park Street Circuit, the Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver has narrowed the gap to 141 points in the drivers’ championship.
Back-to-back qualifying sessions to determine the grid for Race 20 and 21 at the NTI Townsville SuperSprint begin from 10:40 local time/AEST.