Pukekohe Supercars: McLaughlin breaks win record in controversial race

Scott McLaughlin emerged from chaos induced by a safety car to claim a record-breaking 17th win of the Supercars season at Pukekohe

Pukekohe Supercars: McLaughlin breaks win record in controversial race

The win makes the DJR Team Penske driver the outright record holder of most victories in a single season, McLaughlin having equalled Craig Lowndes' previous benchmark last time out at The Bend.

However, through no fault of the Kiwi himself, the win is shrouded in controversy.

The deployment of the safety car on lap 13 kick-started a complicated chain of events that took early frontrunners Jamie Whincup, Lee Holdsworth, Fabian Coulthard and Cam Waters out of contention.

Strategies were split from the word go, with Holdsworth and Coulthard pitting from second and third on lap five, followed by Waters, who inherited second, a lap later.

Leader Whincup opted to run deeper into the first stint, not pitting until he encountered lapped traffic on lap 12.

The Triple Eight driver emerged ahead of Holdsworth, Waters and Coulthard, moments before the race took a controversial turn.

A lap 13 safety car, sparked by a throttle problem that left David Reynolds' car stranded, immediately picked up effective leader Whincup, rather than actual race leader Scott McLaughlin.

Whincup then illegally passed the safety car to try and rectify the issue, while Holdsworth, Waters and Coulthard chose to stay put.

That opened the door for an entire train of cars that pitted during the caution to get back out ahead of Holdsworth but behind Whincup, a problem compounded when the safety car then waved the trio of Mustangs past and picked up Whincup for a second time.

This meant Holdsworth was sitting 11th, ahead of Waters and Coulthard, while Whincup was out front followed by McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen.

Shortly after the lap 18 restart Whincup was penalised for his part in the debacle, as a drivethrough penalty handed the lead to McLaughlin.

That was little consolation for the other three would-be frontrunners, as Holdsworth, Waters and Coulthard were all resigned to an afternoon in the midfield.

McLaughlin, meanwhile, took control of the race.

He covered off any threat of a van Gisbergen challenge by pitting on lap 40, a lap later than the Red Bull Holden driver, resuming with a three-second lead.

Van Gisbergen did make some in-roads late in the race, but ultimately fell 1.8s short of running down his fellow Kiwi.

"I completely forgot about [the record]," said McLaughlin.

"I wanted so badly to do this on New Zealand soil. I'm a lucky guy driving a cool car and just a proud New Zealander trying to do my thing."

Chaz Mostert came home third, holding off a spirited challenge from Nick Percat in the closing stages.

The BJR Holden driver made his second stop 15 laps later than Mostert, and almost used his superior tyre quality to snatch a podium.

The gap between the two was just half a second at the flag.

The safety car chaos helped some drivers to career-best finishes, with Todd Hazelwood in fifth and Simona de Silvestro in eighth.

Those two were split by Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye, while Garry Rogers Motorsport pair Richie Stanaway and James Golding rounded out the top 10.

McLaughlin now leads the championship by 598 points.

Result - 70 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Scott McLaughlin DJR Penske Ford 1h17m38.7925s
2 Shane van Gisbergen Triple Eight Holden 1.8976s
3 Chaz Mostert Tickford Ford 6.0433s
4 Nick Percat Brad Jones Holden 6.5661s
5 Todd Hazelwood Matt Stone Holden 31.6544s
6 Scott Pye Walkinshaw Holden 43.7514s
7 Simona de Silvestro Kelly Nissan 44.9323s
8 Mark Winterbottom Schwerkolt Holden 47.3649s
9 Richie Stanaway GRM Holden 50.1357s
10 James Golding GRM Holden 50.9516s
11 Rick Kelly Kelly Nissan 53.0739s
12 Fabian Coulthard DJR Penske Ford 53.4055s
13 Will Davison 23Red Racing Ford 53.8636s
14 Cameron Waters Tickford Ford 54.1597s
15 Lee Holdsworth Tickford Ford 55.6033s
16 Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Holden 55.9687s
17 James Courtney Walkinshaw Holden 58.1774s
18 Tim Slade Brad Jones Holden 58.7326s
19 Andre Heimgartner Kelly Nissan 1m01.5747s
20 Anton De Pasquale Erebus Holden 1 Lap
21 Garry Jacobson Kelly Nissan 1 Lap
22 Macauley Jones Blanchard/BJR Holden 2 Laps
23 Jack Le Brocq Tekno Holden 2 Laps
24 David Reynolds Erebus Holden 16 Laps


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Series Supercars
Drivers Scott McLaughlin
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
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