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SCOTT McLAUGHLIN TAKES THE LEAD

Scott McLaughlin seized the lead of the Supercars Championship in Townsville - Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

Scott McLaughlin seized the lead of the Supercars Championship in Townsville – Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

Scott McLaughlin has seized the lead in the Supercars Championship with a flawless performance in Townsville.

After taking his eighth pole position of 2017 with a startling lap the Kiwi came from behind to pass Jamie Whincup and dash to his fifth win of the season. He missed the start but took only three laps to close down Jamie Whincup and streak away.

“I made a little bit of an error in Turn 1, I have him a little bump and I got away with it,” said McLaughlin, who won by 4.0955s.

Whincup’s winless 2017 continued but his consistent results have moved him into second in the points.

“We pushed on from the start,” he said. “Just not fast enough today.

Third was a great return to form for Mark Winterbottom, who put a recent bad run in the background.

“We have been working hard and Darwin was not what we wanted,” he said. “The car was OK but not quite as quick as the other two. This is building, which is nice!”

Prodrive bounced back in Townsville - Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

Prodrive bounced back in Townsville – Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

Prodrive Racing Australia pitted its three leading drivers in order and Frosty ended up with the best track position, ahead of teammate Chaz Mostert.

The SuperCheap Ford driver had a great battled with Shane van Gisbergen but the Red Bull Commodore started to misfire with 20 laps remaining and rather than risk a mechanical DNF, SVG let the Ford through.

Cam Waters closed and took fifth place from van Gisbergen a few laps later, and David Reynolds tried to make the move on the penultimate lap – only to make contact and, when he redressed the position, losing out to Craig Lowndes as well!

“Saturdays have been tough for us this year,” said a frustrated van Gisbergen.

“It has dropped a cylinder or broke a header, or something, so it was damage limitation. We will try again tomorrow.”

Lowndes once again demonstrated remarkable race pace after a lack of it in Qualifying, starting from 19th and made steady progress throughout the race to wind up sixth.

Scott McLaughlin celebrates his first race win in Townsville - Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

Scott McLaughlin celebrates his first race win in Townsville – Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

Points: McLaughlin 1470, Whincup 1452, Coulthard 1402, van Gisbergen 1248, Mostert 1146, Winterbottom 1053, Lowndes 1026, Waters 1000, Reynolds 987, Tander 978.

Make sure you follow Auto Action on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest updates across the Supercars round in Townsville this weekend. We’ll also have a full report in the next issue of Auto Action on sale Thursday.