McLaughlin ‘gutted’ to miss Bathurst glory

Scott McLaughlin says he is gutted to not have turned his record-breaking qualifying pace at Mount Panorama into a Bathurst 1000 victory yesterday.

McLaughlin ‘gutted’ to miss Bathurst glory
Start: Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford leads
Ludo Lacroix, Team Penske Ford, Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford
Scott McLaughlin, Alexandre Prémat, Team Penske Ford
Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford
Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford
Alexandre Prémat, Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske
Scott McLaughlin, Alexandre Prémat, Team Penske Ford
Pole sitters Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford, Alexandre Prémat, Team Penske Ford
Pole sitter Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford

McLaughlin went into yesterday’s Great Race hot on the heels of a stunning Top 10 Shootout performance, but the race proved to be less successful for the DJR Team Penske driver.

Chances of he and Premat taking their clearly dominant car speed into the race were hit when wet weather arrived before the start of the 1000-kilometre classic. Still, they were well and truly in contention across the opening pair of stints – only for a misfire to slightly slow proceedings late in the first third of the race.

On Lap 76 it went from being a nuisance to a terminal issue, the #17 Penske Ford grinding to a halt at The Cutting and taking McLaughlin and Premat out of the race.

Reflecting on the result, McLaughlin said it was gutting to not get something out of Sunday having been so quick all week.

“I am gutted,” he said.

“I think if it was an all dry race, potentially, we had a really good car. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I felt like we had a really strong car in the race – so to not be able to show that, it just leaves you wondering, you know? It is a bit of a weird feeling.

“Getting out, my last lap was Lap 24, so it was pretty weird.

“You can’t do anything about it. We were traveling really good, the car was nice, and then all of a sudden we saw it dropped speed down the straight and we just didn’t know what it was.

“We thought we could have fixed it a couple of times, and I as getting ready to jump back in and then thing just stopped and we were done.”

While the result did cost McLaughlin the championship lead, it could have been much worse. Out of his chief title rivals, Jamie Whincup was also hit with an engine problem and finished at the back of the field, while Chaz Mostert was caught up in the restart carnage that effectively decided the race and came home 10th.

It was McLaughlin’s teammate Fabian Coulthard who faired best, finishing third and taking over a 91-point lead.

“With 90 laps to go I was like ‘oh no’. Well not ‘oh no’, but you know it is going to hamper the position we were in.

“And then we got out of it pretty lightly. We are still behind, but to be one-two in the championship as a team is fantastic and we can build on it together.

“I don’t mind being the chaser for once for a while, it is nice too…we know we are fast at the Gold Coast, I feel like it is a good track for both of us and the last few races after that we should be okay.

“It is going to be a good battle for the championship, not only between me and Fabs.”

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