Darwin Supercars: McLaughlin claims first ever Triple Crown

Scott McLaughlin has become the first Supercars driver to win the elusive Darwin Triple Crown, thanks to a dominant performance in the 200-kilometre race at Hidden Valley.

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Darwin Supercars: McLaughlin claims first ever Triple Crown

Having already won Saturday's 120-kilometre race, and then triumphed in today's Top 10 Shootout, McLaughlin just needed victory in the 200-kilometre finale to seal the Triple Crown.

He ticked that box in emphatic style, coming home 13.8s clear of David Reynolds and teammate Fabian Coulthard.

The win is a slice of Supercars history for McLaughlin, the Triple Crown having never before been claimed in the 21-year history of the Darwin event.

McLaughlin only came under genuine pressure once throughout the entire 70-lap affair, a fast-starting Reynolds having a look down the inside of the polesitter at Turn 5 on the opening tour.

Having resisted that brief challenge, McLaughlin was able to quickly gap Reynolds and the rest of the field. His lead was over a second by Lap 4, over 4s by Lap 10, and out to 7.5s when he and Reynolds made their first stops on Lap 19.

With Reynolds going for a long first fuel stop, which dropped him back to sixth, the middle stint was a breeze for McLaughlin. He emerged a little over 5s clear of an early-stopping Cam Waters, that gap ballooning out to almost 10s by Lap 30.

McLaughlin went longer than the rest of the frontrunners in the middle of the race, not making his second stop until Lap 44, six laps later than the likes of Reynolds and Fabian Coulthard.

There was a nervous moment as he was almost released into the side of Jack Smith after making that second stop.

However the unsafe release was narrowly avoided, McLaughlin resuming with an 11s lead over Reynolds.

From there is was a straightforward run home for the reigning champion, his final advantage over Reynolds 13.8s.

“It’s an awesome thing for all our guys and girls at Shell V-Power Racing, Ford Performance, to be the first to win the Triple Crown is really cool,” he said.

“I’ve got a great car, great team, the pitstops were unreal. I had a good battle with Fabs at the start.

“I’m just lucky. I’m 26, just living the dream driving race cars and I’m lucky I drive a fast one.”

Reynolds triumphed in the battle for second thanks to a shorter second stop. Having taken the pain at the end of the first stint, he was able to jump Coulthard and Waters second time around.

Coulthard used a similar trick to get ahead of Waters, who had to settle for fourth after running second in the middle stint.

He could have even fell further back, with Jamie Whincup and Chaz Mostert right under his rear wing at the finish.

For Whincup it was a rollercoaster of a race; he found himself running 23rd on the opening lap after a clash with James Courtney sent him wide. He used a big undercut with a first stop on Lap 14 to get back in the game, setting him up for an impressive fifth.

Mostert, meanwhile, went the other way with strategy, not making his second stop until the window was about to close on Lap 57. He was then able to charge home to sixth, just behind Whincup and just ahead of Tickford teammate Lee Holdsworth.

Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison finished eighth and ninth, with Shane van Gisbergen rounding out the Top 10.

McLaughlin now has more than a round's worth of points up his sleeve, with a 319-point advantage over Coulthard.

Results:

Cla Driver Car Time
1 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin
Ford Mustang GT
2 Australia David Reynolds
Holden Commodore ZB 13.8319
3 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard
Ford Mustang GT 14.8754
4 Australia Cameron Waters
Ford Mustang GT 21.1617
5 Australia Jamie Whincup
Holden Commodore ZB 21.9110
6 Australia Chaz Mostert
Ford Mustang GT 22.3242
7 Australia Lee Holdsworth
Ford Mustang GT 22.9110
8 Australia Anton De Pasquale
Holden Commodore ZB 27.6387
9 Australia Will Davison
Ford Mustang GT 29.3597
10 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen
Holden Commodore ZB 31.9868
11 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner
Nissan Altima 35.7351
12 Australia Mark Winterbottom
Holden Commodore ZB 36.4050
13 Australia Todd Hazelwood
Holden Commodore ZB 46.8917
14 Australia James Courtney
Holden Commodore ZB 46.9234
15 Australia Nick Percat
Holden Commodore ZB 55.3366
16 Australia Rick Kelly
Nissan Altima 57.2348
17 Australia James Golding
Holden Commodore ZB 1 lap
18 Australia Tim Slade
Holden Commodore ZB 1 lap
19 Australia Scott Pye
Holden Commodore ZB 1 lap
20 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro
Nissan Altima 1 lap
21 Australia Jack Le Brocq
Holden Commodore ZB 1 lap
22 Australia Macauley Jones
Holden Commodore ZB 1 lap
23 New Zealand Chris Pither
Holden Commodore ZB 1 lap
24 Australia Garry Jacobson
Nissan Altima 1 lap
25 United States Jack Smith
Holden Commodore ZB 1 lap

 

Darwin Supercars: Pole puts McLaughlin on track for Triple Crown

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About this article

Series Supercars
Event Hidden Valley
Drivers Scott McLaughlin
Teams Dick Johnson Racing
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
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