JAMIE Whincup has won an unprecedented seventh Supercars title after Scott McLaughlin’s championship
dream turned to ruin during an epic finale in Newcastle.
The Holden superstar celebrated just his fourth win of the season as McLaughlin squandered a 78-point
series lead and pole position after three penalties during Sunday’s 250km race.
McLaughlin kept on fighting and got into a title-winning position before he was hit with a third penalty for what
appeared to be a telling pass with three laps remaining, with the 25-second penalty confirming Whincup’s
title, winning by 21 points.
In one of the craziest finishes in Australian motorsport, McLaughlin was penalised after crossing the line
for appearing to drive Craig Lowndes into the concrete on the second last lap.Lowndes was sandwiched
between the concrete and McLaughlin. Whincup said he had no idea he had won the championship when
he crossed the line. I didn’t have a clue across the line, I assumed I’d come second. What a roller coaster,”
Whincup said. We fought hard. We didn’t have the quickest car all year but it’s all about teamwork and sport
is all mental.”
A shattered McLaughlin apologised to fans and sponsors after the heartbreak. “I wish I could get it done for
them but at least we got the teams’ championship,” he said. I’m 24 years old, I’ll have another crack yet.”
McLaughlin’s flying start from pole position wasn’t a portent of things to come. He was slapped with a penalty
for speeding on his first entry to pit lane early in the race. The 24-year-old Kiwi began weaving his way back
into a desired position before an error drew a 15-second penalty on the 47th lap.
McLaughlin’s Falcon made contact Simona de Silvestro’s Altima, causing her to spin out of turn two. After Taz
Douglas ploughed into the wall on the 55th lap, a safety car brought McLaughlin back to the field bumping
him up to 16th.
The decision to penalise McLaughlin created absolute mayhem up and down pit lane as Whincup celebrated
one of the greatest comebacks ever to win the Supercars title. McLaughlin’s Team Penske did not launch a
protest to the ruling from racing stewards, but McLaughlin said after the race he never meant to put Lowndes
into the wall.
“I knew we were close, but I didn’t think we were that close,” McLaughlin said. I just defended the line to
(turn) two and then we got interlocked. I genuinely didn’t mean to push him into the wall.”V8 Supercars
commentators were simply stunned at the incredible drama.
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