16 Mar 2019

McLaughlin dedicates victory to Christchurch

7:04 am on 16 March 2019

New Zealand Supercars driver Scott McLaughlin has dedicated his victory in the opening leg of the Melbourne 400 to his hometown of Christchurch

Supercars driver Scott McLaughlin wins race 1 of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400

Supercars driver Scott McLaughlin wins race 1 of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 Photo: Edge Photographics

A terrorist attack on multiple mosques in the city has a currently-confirmed death toll of 49 people, with more seriously injured.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

On the other side of the Tasman, McLaughlin led a one-two finish for Shell V-Power Racing at Albert Park on Friday evening, with countryman Fabian Coulthard second.

Protocol at the Australian Grand Prix includes playing the winning driver's national anthem on the podium, with McLaughlin's thoughts close to Christchurch throughout.

"Me and Fabs are Kiwis, I'm from Christchurch originally," McLaughlin said."I found out about the whole thing after quali, it was a bit of a shock to the system.

"Even hearing the New Zealand anthem tonight was pretty special and gave me goosebumps.

"I send big love to them over there. It's hard to believe something so bad could happen there but they'll work through it."

Shane van Gisbergen was on track to finish fourth on Friday evening, before his Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore stopped at Turn 2 in the closing laps.

Like McLaughlin, he said the Christchurch incident was on his mind, making the DNF "pretty insignificant" by comparison.

"It was alright, but the motor I think let go at the end," van Gisbergen said. "But it's pretty insignificant, it's a sad day and compared to what happened in New Zealand.

"I've been thinking about that all day, I've got a lot of friends down there and thoughts go out to all the families, it's pretty average."

Scott McLaughlin won the opening race of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 to maintain his perfect start to the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

The Shell V-Power Racing driver controlled the 25-lap race, taking his third win from as many starts this year following a double in Adelaide.

He ultimately led an all-Ford Mustang top five at Albert Park, with team-mate Fabian Coulthard and Cameron Waters rounding out the podium.

"The car was great, but this goes out to New Zealand," McLaughlin said

"Tough times over there in Christchurch, my home town, they're all suffering, so all love to you guys.

"I was driving to a lap time, helping Fabs get some clean air on Cam as well, so doing the team job as well.

"I had an awesome start again, my starts are going well and I've just got to keep pressing on."