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McLaughlin scores dominant Supercars win

NZN 18/06/2017 Matt Coughlan

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 win, 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 win catapulted McLaughlin above Whincup in the championship standings, to second, 10 points behind stablemate Fabian Coulthard who took out Saturday's 42-lap race.

"I feel like we're close now and it's great to have it one-two with the team," McLaughlin said.

"It's early days but it's good for the morale back in Stapylton and hopefully we can carry this on towards the end of the year."

While Whincup's frustrating run rolls on, he remains in the championship hunt 16 points adrift of Coulthard.

The Red Bull Racing ace got the perfect start after he jumped the pole-sitting McLaughlin 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.

While tyre failure put a dampener McLaughlin's victory burnout, he was still delighted to be able to scorch some rubber in the race's aftermath.

"I really enjoyed the strategy and how we had to get a bit of pace there and try and throw some qualifying laps to try and jump Jamie," McLaughlin said.

Whincup said the team had made improvements from the last round in Winton.

"I'm always a big believer in the quickest car should win," Whincup said.

"The quickest car won this weekend.

"We were second quickest and happy to maximise our performance."

Whincup's teammate Shane van Gisbergen was happy to finish third after a frustrating weekend with a mystery issue plaguing his Commodore.

There was daylight between the defending series champion and fourth-placegetter Coulthard.

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.

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