Nineteen-year-old rookie Scott McLaughlin has performed like a seasoned professional to win his first V8 Supercar race at Albert Park this afternoon, as the MSS Security-backed V8 Supercars Challenge at the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix came to a close.
The New Zealander didn’t put a foot wrong in race four as he streaked to a 1.658-second victory over Craig Lowndes, who just got the better of Fabian Coulthard. All three drivers were in Commodores.
McLaughlin won last year’s second-tier V8 development title before making the jump to the premier division in 2013, and he’s surprised himself by becoming a rookie winner just two meetings in.
“To be in front of guys like Craig and Fabian was great and a little surprising, but I am stoked,” McLaughlin. “I just wish the race was for real championship points!”
Coulthard was again the early pacesetter, and still found himself in front after the compulsory sequence of pit stops – but then his challenge to become the first driver to clean sweep a V8 Supercar program at Albert Park in 15 years was stymied when he ran off at turn three, with McLaughlin and Lowndes taking maximum advantage.
David Reynolds (Falcon) was fourth in race four -- just on the bumper of Lowndes -- and he was followed home by Alex Davison (Falcon) and Jamie Whincup (Holden).
Twenty-one drivers completed the 12-lapper, with retirements including Commodore duo Garth Tander and James Courtney, as well as Mark Winterbottom (Falcon), who was caught up as collateral damage when Russell Ingall (Commodore) spun at turn one after the start.
Coulthard was the overall winner across the four races on 225pts, ahead of team-mate Jason Bright (202) and Will Davison (Falcon, 179).