7 Apr 2019

Sick McLaughlin earns sixth Supercars win

9:03 am on 7 April 2019

Scott McLaughlin and DJR Team Penske have defied the odds to claim a one-two result at Tasmania on Saturday, strengthening their grip on the Supercars title fight.

Supercars championship leader Scott McLaughlin

Supercars championship leader Scott McLaughlin Photo: Clay Cross / PHOTOSPORT

The Mustang made it seven from seven, with the New Zealand driver taking his sixth win in a dominant start to his championship defence.

His first win in Tasmania and Jamie Whincup's luckless day leaves the Kiwi more than 100 points to the good at the top of the series standings.

McLaughlin jumped surprise pole-sitter Mark Winterbottom off the line on Saturday afternoon and was never headed, winning ahead of teammate Fabian Coulthard and Shane van Gisbergen to complete a Kiwi podium.

Winterbottom finished fourth, denied a first podium as a Holden driver when overtaken by van Gisbergen on the penultimate lap.

While Irwin Racing celebrated Winterbottom's surge, the day belonged to McLaughlin.

Their good fortune began in qualifying, when chief title rival and Symmons Plains expert Whincup suffered a disaster.

The 12-time winner in Tasmania locked up on the infamous hairpin turn and drew a red flag which forced him to start from 15th on the grid.

Whincup then suffered tyre damage while attempting to pass Chaz Mostert on the second lap, sending him into the gravel trap once more before he limped to a last-placed finish.

Whincup's absence allowed DJT Team Penske to run rampant at the top.

McLaughlin's triumph was made all the more impressive as he overcame two major hurdles.

The first was parity restrictions brought in for this race designed to slow the Mustang down.

The second was a virus the 25-year-old carried into the race meet.

"I'll have a good sleep tonight, watch a bit of the footy and try and come back stronger," McLaughlin said while coughing.

"There's been a lot of stuff thrown at us but we're a strong group."

As he crossed the line, McLaughlin told the team radio "that'll shut the haters up", a likely reference to the parity measures brought in by Supercars officials unhappy with the superior speed of the Mustang.

DJR managing director Ryan Story said this latest triumph was a victory to the development of the sport's first two-door coupe.

"Every time a new model rolls out it tends to lift the game and change the game," he said.

"We saw it last year ... when the (new Commodore) ZB first rolled out.

"They (parity measures) have only served to galvanise the team. We've worked hard."

Astonishingly, McLaughlin has won every race he's started this season.

His only blemish was a DNF at the Australian Grand Prix, caused by a bizarre crash on a warm-up lap.

His championship lead, which had been 31 points over Whincup, extended to 135 points to Chaz Mostert, who finished 10th.

Coulthard is third in the race, sitting seven points behind Mostert, with Whincup dropping to fourth, a further nine points back.