13 Oct 2019

McLaughlin wins maiden Bathurst 1000 crown

9:02 pm on 13 October 2019

Supercars series leader Scott McLaughlin has claimed a maiden Bathurst 1000 title at Mount Panorama after a dramatic finish.

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin Photo: EDGE

Ford's McLaughlin held out Holden star Shane van Gisbergen on Sunday by 0.68 of a second, with veteran James Courtney third after the six-and-a-half hour marathon came down to a final-lap sprint.

Just one of the 161 laps remained by the time the race re-started after the eighth and final safety car left the track, setting up a nail-biting finish.

But McLaughlin held out hard-charging fellow New Zealander van Gisbergen, denying the Holden star his first Bathurst win.

It marked the first Bathurst win by McLaughlin's DJR team since 1994.

McLaughlin extended his series lead over nearest rival van Gisbergen to 622 points.

"I can't believe I won the bloody Bathurst 1000," said an emotional McLaughlin, who had Alex Premat as his co-driver.

"I have dreamt about this. I put so much pressure on myself to make this a good one but I am so proud of this team."

Pole sitter McLaughlin trailed Holden star Jamie Whincup - who finished fourth - late in the race.

But four-time Bathurst winner Whincup surrendered an 11.5 second advantage when he pitted for fuel and second-placed McLaughlin opted to stay on track, reclaiming the race lead after a safety car was called with 11 laps left.

It looked like a two-horse race with 26 laps to go after McLaughlin's then third-placed Ford teammate Fabian Coulthard controversially slowed down to back up the rest of the field, as the series leader and Whincup raced to their garage for a pit stop during a safety-car period to get much-needed fuel.

Coulthard's move ensured a 13-second gap between van Gisbergen and race leaders Whincup and McLaughlin.

It eliminated van Gisbergen's 10-second fuel advantage on McLaughlin and Whincup on the run home.

Couthard copped a pit-lane penalty for the unsportsmanlike tactic which was labelled "disgraceful" by Supercars great Larry Perkins.

Leading Ford drivers Cam Waters and Chaz Mostert - looming in third and fourth respectively - appeared threats but came into contact, ploughing into the gravel together on lap 124 to prompt a safety car and end their title quest.

Mostert made contact with Waters and both ended up in the gravel at The Chase, much to the disbelief of their livid team bosses in the same Ford garage.

Mostert incurred a pit-lane penalty and finished 16th while Waters was 21st in the 26-strong field.

Mostert broke the race lap record in the dying moments, clocking two minutes, 04.76 seconds.

A total of 201,975 people flocked to Mount Panorama over four days.