Scott McLaughlin continues New Zealand drivers' hot Supercars form with big win in Darwin
Ford star Scott McLaughlin has sealed a stellar weekend for DJR Team Penske in Darwin with a dominant victory in Sunday's Supercars race.
The 24-year-old New Zealander denied Holden's Jamie Whincup a drought-breaking victory, continuing the six-time champion's winless start to the season.
McLaughlin's victory in the 70-lap event at Hidden Valley Raceway took Kiwi drivers' winning tally to 11 this season after the opening 12 races.
The victory catapulted McLaughlin above Whincup in the championship standings, jumping to second, 10 points behind stablemate and compatriot Fabian Coulthard who won Saturday's 42-lap race.
While Whincup's frustrating run rolls on, he remains in the championship hunt 16 points adrift of Coulthard.
Whincup got the perfect start after he jumped the pole-sitting McLaughlin at the start and led for the majority of the race's first half.
But McLaughlin regained the ascendancy when Whincup made his second pit stop at the end of the 41st lap.
From there it was a sprint to the end, with McLaughlin opening up a lead of more than five seconds in the middle stages.
The only dampener on McLaughlin's post-race celebrations was tyre failure during his celebratory burnout.
"The burnout procedure wasn't too good so I need to work with (Shane van Gisbergen) on that. But stoked to be even be able to do a burnout," McLaughlin said.
"I just had really good pace and we were able to be good on strategy."
Defending series champion van Gisbergen finished third with clear daylight between him and Coulthard.
"We certainly made some improvements on the car this weekend which we'll take away and be happy with," Whincup said.
"I wish I had a bit more pace I could have had a crack at (McLaughlin)."
Brad Jones Racing's Tim Slade rounded out the top five, while Holden veteran Craig Lowndes grabbed sixth.
After starting from third on the grid, James Moffat had a tough afternoon with a tyre puncture with 12 laps remaining dropping him from seventh to near the tail of the field.
The championship heads to Townsville next month.