1 Nov 2018

All eyes on Kiwis at Pukekohe this weekend

12:03 pm on 1 November 2018

There will be 26 runners at Pukekohe Park this weekend in the second-to-last Supercars meet of the season but all eyes will be on two drivers; both Kiwis.

Scott McLauglin and Shane van Gisbergen are the title contenders and both are preparing for a furious fight.

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin Photo: Photosport

"It's going to be on," McLaughlin says.

The DJR Team Penske man is on top after turning the tables on his Red Bull Holden Racing Team rival in the sole race at the Gold Coast a fortnight ago.

His fifth-placed finish, behind winners Chaz Mostert and James Moffat, puts the 25-year-old on top of the standings by 14 points.

Van Gisbergen, who appeared to be running away with the title before the Enduro series with seven consecutive top-two finishes, underwhelmed at Bathurst and finished 10th at Surfers Paradise.

With a maximum of 600 points left to win this season, the pair are the only realistic title shots.

Third-placed Jamie Whincup has conceded his hopes of winning an eighth championship and retaining last year's crown, sitting 433 points back.

Craig Lowndes, in fourth, is the only other mathematical contender.

However, the Triple Eight pair would both need multiple DNFs to come into contention.

And so the focus is firmly on McLaughlin and Van Gisbergen with just four races left.

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin Photo: Photosport

McLaughlin might be especially feeling the heat given he lead into the season's final race last year only to see Whincup claim the crown on a dramatic day in Newcastle.

He said he knew what was coming.

"We know how Shane drives, we know he's a very hard racer and at the end of the day, that's what it's going to be," McLaughlin told the Supercars website.

"We're going to be pushing each other hard, both sides.

"I'm looking forward to the battle, what will be will be.

"I feel like I'm a lot more mature and ready to go for these last two rounds than I ever have been."

McLaughlin said he'd be relying on his team and garage-mate Fabian Coulthard for every advantage for the crunch meet in New Zealand.

"Last year we came out (of the Enduro Cup) behind so we're a little bit of a step ahead already," he said.

"We've both got good cars around these next two tracks, they're obviously really strong. It's going to be on."