Returning to the arena of his career’s “lowest point”, Ford’s Scott McLaughlin says he has exorcised his Newcastle demons afterwards demography a assured footfall against accepting a beginning Supercars appellation this weekend.
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Supercars alternation baton McLaughlin on Friday threw bottomward the gauntlet to championship battling Shane van Gisbergen by clocking the fastest convenance time advanced of the season-ending Newcastle 500.
McLaughlin topped the timesheets with a baking lap of one minute, 10:47 abnormal advanced of seven-time alternation best Jamie Whincup of Holden and Ford’s Cameron Waters on the boxy artery circuit.
Holden’s van Gisbergen was seventh fastest.
It was a attempt in the arm for McLaughlin who holds aloof a 14-point advance over van Gisbergen in the abutting championship accomplishment in a decade.
And it seemed he bare it afterwards abiding to Newcastle area Whincup snatched abroad the appellation from McLaughlin in affecting appearance aloof 12 months ago.
Last year McLaughlin appeared to accept a celebrated Supercars acme in the bag aback he captivated a 78-point championship advance over Whincup and claimed pole for the season’s final chase in Newcastle.
History shows Whincup came from the clouds to agitated McLaughlin and abjure the aerial Kiwi his aboriginal Supercars appellation in affecting scenes.
But McLaughlin said there are no cerebral scars advancing into Newcastle afterwards claiming he had accurate his brainy courage by responding to van Gisbergen’s claiming at the aftermost annular in Auckland.
Van Gisbergen not alone claimed achievement at Auckland’s aperture race, he ashamed his adolescent Kiwi by parking too abutting to McLaughlin’s Ford afterwards to ensure he couldn’t get out.
McLaughlin hit aback the abutting day by claiming band honours in the New Zealand round’s final race, abduction aback a attenuate alternation advance over his compatriot.
Asked if he was activity mentally able advanced of the Newcastle round, McLaughlin said: “Look at Sunday at New Zealand.
“A lot of being went on the day afore but we aloof came out and had a crack.
“From 12 months ago which was apparently the everyman point of my career I feel like we came aback in the aforementioned (title contender) position – I can’t be too bad in the head.”
Not abundant has afar McLaughlin and van Gisbergen all year.
McLaughlin has won eight contest in 2018 while van Gisbergen has claimed seven.
But McLaughlin believed he would accept the bend in condoning starting from 1135 AEDT on Saturday afterwards claiming 13 poles this division compared to van Gisbergen’s five.
In the final annular of his 22-year career, backward Holden abundant Craig Lowndes was 12th fastest in additional practice.
And Mark Winterbottom – who has sensationally appear he will about-face to Holden abutting year afterwards 13 seasons with Ford – was 15th in Friday’s final session.
The 2018 Supercars appellation will be absitively by 95-lap contest on Saturday and Sunday.
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