McLaughlin defends Dick Johnson Racing form

The Shell V-Power Racing Team left Sandown without a podium finish

Scott McLaughlin has come to the defence of the Shell V-Power Racing Team after a weekend where neither of its drivers saw the podium.

It was a trying Sandown SuperSprint for Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison, the pair each recording weekend-best finishes of fifth in Race 3 and Race 5 respectively.

The two-day meeting wasn’t without drama for the team, Davison ending Race 3 two laps down after overheating late in the race while De Pasquale suffered an engine failure in Race 4.

Davison led the team’s qualifying efforts, starting third but spinning in wet conditions early in the piece.

Davison still leads the way for Dick Johnson Racing, sitting sixth in the drivers’ championship.

De Pasquale remains bogged down in 17th after two events in a row where the 25-year-old suffered a DNF, the first coming after a crash at the Mount Panorama 500.

Following a spate of negative comments on the Shell V-Power Racing Team Facebook page, the team’s three-time champion McLaughlin came to the defence of De Pasquale and Davison.

“This was always a tough track for us and a strong one for T8 [Triple Eight Race Engineer], always, since I joined the team,” McLaughlin wrote.

“I’m sad reading some comments the last few days, I love our fans but the attack on the team/drivers is uncalled for.

“This has been a tough start for us as a squad, Bathurst, for two new drivers, learning a new car there is impossible, [you] need time, but Anton got a provisional pole at BATHURST, jeez give them some credit.

“Now into Sandown, where we never have been amazing, but the team showed glimpses of speed even better than we have had before.”

Sandown International Motor Raceway has traditionally been a circuit where Triple Eight Race Engineering machinery has thrived.

That was once again the case, Shane van Gisbergen completing a sweep of the weekend’s three races despite carrying a broken collarbone.

Red Bull Ampol Racing team-mate Jamie Whincup was on pace too, claiming two third place finishes and two front-row starts from three races.

McLaughlin encouraged fans to cut the new-look Dick Johnson Racing team some slack amid wholesale changes to the team’s driver line-up

“We now go to Tasmania, where we have won in the past but have also struggled at a track where T8 is always strong,” McLaughlin continued.

“We have had a tough initiation for two new drivers in brand new cars. Give it time, support the drivers and the team.

“They will get there, you don’t win 3 teams championships because you’re idiots.

“But we all got a huge boost from positivity and support from all our fans, positivity will only speed up the process for you all to enjoy success sooner rather than later.

“Cheering hard from USA team, you got this!”

McLaughlin is slated to join the team later this year for the Repco Bathurst 1000 where it is anticipated he’ll join Will Davison in the #17 Ford Mustang.

However, the Team Penske pilot may miss this year’s race with insufficient time to travel from the USA to Australia and complete quarantine in time for the Great Race.

The comments come just a week after Chaz Mostert started the #nosocialhate social media campaign.

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