Young Kiwi race ace Scott McLaughlin went from agony to ecstasy at Hampton Downs today when he dominated the opening race of the fourth round of the V8 SuperTourer championship.
McLaughlin bounced back from a disastrous Manfeild round in April when reliability issues forced his MPC Supercheap team to withdraw their cars, backing up a pole position in Hampton Downs qualifying with his first win in the championship.
A nervous start saw him lose the lead to Andy Knight, who began third on the grid, but McLaughlin quickly re-established himself in front on lap two with a great pass at turn four.
That left him with a clear track ahead and he made his getaway with a series of laps in the 1:04 bracket, which no other driver could match at that stage. From lap five, McLaughlin held a four second lead and never looked back.
McLaughlin eased home the car in the final few laps to guarantee the win, and took a clean sheet for the day by bagging the points for fastest lap as well.
Behind McLaughlin, Andy Booth could not get past Knight quick enough to challenge for the lead, though when he did he also consistently lapped in the 1.04 bracket.
Under pressure late in the race from series points leader Jonny Reid, Booth closed the gap by half a second to McLaughlin but never made a serious threat.
Going into Sunday's final day of racing in the 2012 V8 SuperTourer sprint championship, Reid (1851) leads John McIntyre (1749) by 102 points with Greg Murphy in third on 1425 points.