The Kiwi was absolute on the final afternoon of the season, ambience up what would accept been a well-crafted win.
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However, with appellation battling Shane van Gisbergen boilerplate abreast quick abundant to arise any array of challenge, McLaughlin went with a alert access at aback end of the race, absolution the abiding Erebus Holden of Reynolds through with four laps to go to ensure he didn’t get bent up in an accidental action for the win.
Even with finishing additional McLaughlin concluded up 71 credibility bright of van Gisbergen, whose fourth abode ensured the arguable Saturday amends played no adamantine and fast allotment in the final equation.
Polesitter Reynolds calmly controlled the aperture appearance of the race, befitting McLaughlin at arm’s breadth for the aboriginal brace of laps afore establishing a 1.5s gap.
Van Gisbergen, meanwhile, bare a bit of Holden advice to get assimilate McLaughlin’s tail; accepting been out-dragged to the aboriginal bend by Garth Tander, the Red Bull Holden disciplinarian was accustomed affluence of allowance aback he showed his adenoids at Turn 8 after in the aboriginal lap.
The contenders ran in additional and third until a Lap 20 Safety Car sparked the aboriginal annular of stops.
The account of the attention was a avengement of the Jamie Whincup/Fabian Coulthard altercation from yesterday, the brace clashing at Turn 12 for a additional time in as abounding races. This time it was Coulthard that concluded up in the wall, the acquaintance animadversion the rear addition apple-pie off his Falcon.
McLaughlin was the champ of the birr into the lane, advancing out in the advance advanced of Reynolds, Whincup and James Courtney, the closing two accepting fabricated their aboriginal stops afore the Safety Car. Van Gisbergen was on the accident end of the deal, advancing out abaft that accumulation in fifth.
The average assignment accepted damaging to van Gisbergen’s race, the 26 laps spent active beneath Courtney’s rear wing. As a aftereffect he fell to 13s abaft baton McLaughlin afore diving into the pits for his additional and final stop.
McLaughlin had some cartage issues of his own abysmal into the additional stint, advancing beyond the brand of Andre Heimgartner and Richie Stanaway that had already pitted.
To absolute the accident Penske pulled him into the lane on Lap 47, McLaughlin re-joining the chase with his able advance in tact, and Reynolds, who alveolate on the aforementioned lap, added than a additional behind.
Van Gisbergen did jump Courtney as the stops befuddled out, but was still aback in fourth abaft Whincup and 18s off the advance of a chase he bare to win.
Things didn’t get any bigger for the Red Bull Holden disciplinarian on the run to the flag, van Gisbergen falling added and added aback from the baton as he acutely lacked the clip to arise any array of challenge.
Then, with about 20 laps to go, the front-left central bouncer formed its way apart on van Gisbergen’s car, the appropriate bouncer afterward clothing 10 laps after to add insult to abrasion on a boxy afternoon.
McLaughlin, meanwhile, assuredly went bourgeois in the closing laps. While he could accept apparently fought it out for the win, he instead autonomous to let Reynolds – who was never added than a additional or so abaft – go with four laps to go.
The brace concluded up bridge the band afar by 4s, Reynolds the chase champ and McLaughlin the 2018 Supercars champion.
“Everyone actuality works so hard,” said McLaughlin.
“We accept to pay account to Shane, we raced so adamantine all year, it’s been a hell of a battle.
“With 30 to go I anticipation ‘this could be on’ and it was the longest 30 laps of my life.
“Holy smokes, I aloof can’t accept we’ve done it. Holy guacamole.”
Reynolds added: “I had a mega, mega car out there.
“I got a absolutely acceptable alpha and aboriginal stint, my additional assignment wasn’t the best, Scott got abroad from us and we had a bit of ammunition time on him to lose.
“The car got bigger and better, I could see him starting to accelerate and anticipation ‘if he’s smart, he’ll let me go’ and again he did.
“But I was lining up for a able regardless, I’m actuality to win. He won the championship anyway, so he’s done a abundant job all year and it couldn’t accept gone to a bigger driver.”
Jamie Whincup and van Gisbergen accomplished the chase third and fourth respectively, the closing 42s bottomward on Reynolds by the finish.
“We did aggregate we could. Congrats to them, they’ve been aces competitors and aces champions,” said van Gisbergen.
“I’ve enjoyed the action and am still proud, but it’s a boxy one. That race, I aloof got ashore abaft James and couldn’t do annihilation to get up there.”
Courtney accomplished his division off with a fifth place, followed by Heimgartner, Chaz Mostert, Lee Holdsworth, and Scott Pye.
Craig Lowndes, whose afternoon started with a affecting bouncer of honour from the absolute pitlane, angled out his full-time Supercars career in 11th place.
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