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McLaughlin wary of Whincup ahead of Perth

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/05/2017 Laine Clark

Ford star Scott McLaughlin is wary of six-time series champion Jamie Whincup despite the Holden rival's winless Supercars season start. © Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images Ford star Scott McLaughlin is wary of six-time series champion Jamie Whincup despite the Holden rival's winless Supercars season start. No wins and two podiums from three rounds.

It's not exactly the Supercars season start six-time series champion Jamie Whincup had planned.

But Ford star Scott McLaughlin has dismissed the notion Whincup is out of form and expects the Holden rival to again threaten at this weekend's Perth round.

Whincup heads west in fourth place in the drivers' championship, just 46 points behind leader Fabian Coulthard of Ford.

However, the jury is out on how Whincup will reel in the new threat posed by Coulthard and Ford teammate McLaughlin this year.

The Kiwi duo have combined in 2017 to reinvigorate a DJR Team Penske outfit that had not won a single race until this year.

And McLaughlin - fifth in the standings - and Coulthard are expected to relish the short 2.4km Perth circuit, creating another headache for Whincup.

But McLaughlin said they would be looking over their shoulder at Whincup in Perth.

"Jamie hasn't won but he is still right there, not far off the lead," McLaughlin told AAP.

"He has been consistent which is exactly what you need.

"(Whincup's team) Triple Eight has always been strong there and Jamie has too - he will find something I am sure."

However, McLaughlin warned he had a "fire in the belly" after a horror last round at Phillip Island.

McLaughlin could not hide his frustration after earning two pole positions and new practice and race records, only to walk away from the Phillip Island round with 10th and 14th placings.

"We have good speed and grabbed a couple of pole positions which was nice," he said.

"Obviously a bit disappointed we didn't turn something into one little good result.

"Those are the breaks and we have to get on with it.

"But it definitely puts a fire in the belly for this weekend."

At Phillip Island, a time penalty sabotaged his race one hopes while in the second he was made to pay for a strategic gaffe in which he stayed out of the pits after a lap-one crash.

McLaughlin believed he would be alongside Coulthard at the top of the drivers' standings if not for his last round luck.

"Fabs (Coulthard) is first and I am fifth (in standings) - we are right there which is nice," he said.

"But if I had a couple of good results before a few of my penalties I would be a lot closer but that's how it goes.

"We have showed a lot of promise and hopefully we can continue that speed (in Perth)."

McLaughlin said there was now a healthy rivalry in the DJR Team Penske sheds heading into round four.

"We get along off the track but we are very competitive and push each other to the limit on it," he said.

"And that's what Penske wants out of us."

Perth practice starts on Friday.

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