First win in Volvo close, again, says McLaughlin
After going so close to getting his maiden victory in a Volvo three weeks ago at Pukekohe, Scott McLaughlin feels he's within touching distance of achieving that in Perth this weekend.
The 20-year-old New Zealand driver started from pole position in two of the four races at the last round of the series, but his best finishes were a third and second place.
It was good for his championship points and he's moved up to seventh place in the standings but this weekend at the Perth 400 his priority is that elusive first victory of the season.
"We learnt a lot in the last race at Pukekohe [where he came second, behind Mark Winterbottom] and we've built on that going into this round," McLaughlin said.
"We've got a good base set up to start the weekend with and then push on."
The action takes place at the Barbagallo Raceway, 50 kilometres north of Perth. It's notorious for being tough on tyres and how the drivers look after them could determine races.
"The tyre degradation around here is quite high, so you've really got to find a car that looks after its tyres over a long time, especially in the 200km race," McLaughlin said.
"We've got a lot of sets of tyres compared to last year, so hopefully we make the most of them and we're pretty fast as well."
Something McLaughlin hopes is sorted for this weekend is the difference in speed he gets from his car in qualifying and racing.
Although he was consistently the fastest in qualifying at Pukekohe, he struggled to match Ford Performance Racing's Winterbottom in the actual races.
"We definitely had really good qualifying speed [in New Zealand]," he said.
"On Saturday we struggled with the races and on Sunday we were really good but missed out in a few vital areas at the end of the race and we probably should have tuned our car up better for the race distance."
Winterbottom, who's leading the championship by 107 points over the second-placed Craig Lowndes in his Triple Eight Holden, is expected to be challenging for more race wins this weekend, while Lowndes and his team-mate, Jamie Whincup, will surely be quick again soon after disappointing rounds in Winton and Pukekohe.
These two teams have won 13 of the last 14 V8 Supercar races at Barbagallo and Whincup has finished on 11 of the last 12 podiums.