Motorsport: V8 Supertourers decider

By Eric Thompson

Great racing, but new series still has plenty to sort out

Scott McLaughlin on his way to winning the inaugural V8 SuperTourers championship at Ruapuna. Photo / Geoff Ridder
Scott McLaughlin on his way to winning the inaugural V8 SuperTourers championship at Ruapuna. Photo / Geoff Ridder

Last weekend saw the closing stanza on the inaugural series of the V8 SuperTourers. It's been an interesting championship - full of good racing, political intrigue, crashes and mechanical woes.

As the trucks and trailers were pulling away from the Ruapuna circuit young Kiwi V8 driver Scott McLaughlin had the series trophy on his lap.

It was probably the most drama-packed weekend's racing the series had seen all year, beginning with championship contender John McIntyre's massive shunt in practice.

The former NZV8 champion's brakes failed as he peeled into turn one and he smacked heavily into the wall. He remained conscious while being removed from the car and was immediately taken to hospital.

McIntyre was released from Christchurch hospital later Saturday evening after being treated for a dislocated shoulder dislocation and rib fractures. Despite not being able to race on the Sunday, the Taupo-based driver held on to third place overall in the series to go with his sprint-round championship.

With McIntyre sidelined, McLaughlin only had to contend with Greg Murphy as a title rival. Both had scored no points in a previous round so dropping the mandatory race wouldn't affect either of them.

McLaughlin put his marker out during Saturday's qualifying, grabbing pole. As the lights went out the Gold Coast based driver roared off in the lead avoiding the chaos behind him, which took Murphy out of the race equation.

The four-time Bathurst winner was shunted from behind and suffered steering damage that ended any chance of him catching McLaughlin.

McLaughlin and co-driver Jonathon Webb backed up their successful sixth place at the Bathurst 1000 recently and took the win along with the championship.

"It was a relief to know I had the championship before the second race," said McLaughlin. "It took some of the pressure off but I was also determined to go out there and win the second race."

Race two was a more sedate affair until the closing laps when McLaughlin found himself on the boot of Murphy's car with two laps to go after monstering his way through the field. In a desperate effort to get past, youth and over-exuberance saw McLaughlin hit Murphy, spinning him off the circuit.

Although McLaughlin took the chequered flag, the resultant penalty dropped him to 15th. Daniel Gaunt and Andrew Waite were awarded the win with Murphy and Jack Perkins finishing fifth.

"It was a bit unfortunate what happened [hitting Murphy] but I drove the wheels off the thing all weekend and we came away with some good results," McLaughlin said.

"It would have been great to win the endurance part of the series, but hey, we won the overall championship so it's all good."

Murphy is calling for an investigation into the engine management of the series in preparation for next year's championship.

He is concerned that all the technical experience through the teams is not being listened to and suggests a more collective approach.

He suggested the blokes who took it upon themselves to take control of those engines needed to take a hard look at themselves.

It may pay the category organisers to sort the cars out before they look at international venues. You don't want failures at that level of exposure in a fledgling series.

All that needs to happen now is for the powers that be in both V8 camps to sort out their differences so New Zealand motorsport fans get to see one Kiwi big banger championship.


V8ST points after seven rounds


Scott McLaughlin 3474

Greg Murphy 3080

John McIntyre 2840

Andy Booth 2656

Jonny Reid 2654

Ant Pedersen 2375

Kayne Scott 2299

- NZ Herald

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