After taking out the first four races of the season, Scott McLaughlin's Supercars rivals finally found a way to stop him winning — by taking him out on the warm-up lap before the race even started.
McLaughlin was forced to sit out race five in bizarre circumstances last night after Cam Waters collided with him on the out lap from pitlane.
The Kiwi champion was on pole and would have been favoured to continue his winning run. Instead, he had to watch Chaz Mostert claim victory, while second-placed Jamie Whincup cut his overall lead from 116 points to 24.
"I'm gutted for our fans but there are worse things going on in the world and we'll come back [today] a stronger team," said McLaughlin.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
He had earlier underlined his dominance with his fourth straight win of the Supercars season in Melbourne yesterday afternoon.
No one else in the field looks ready to challenge the Kiwi champion on a regular basis, and if he continues to amass points early on, the chasing pack will find it difficult to stay in contention.
McLaughlin had 450 points after the second of the four Supercars support races to the Australian Grand Prix, a buffer of 116 over Whincup in second, with third-placed Will Davison a further 10 points back.
While not quite getting the rocket-ship start of Friday's opening race of the weekend at Albert Park, McLaughlin kept his lead at the first corner as a pack of four cars all vied for an advantage.
The 25-year-old held his nerve and settled into an all too familiar rhythm to slowly pull away from Waters, who had put up a valiant fight for the lead during the first lap.
Halfway through the 13-lap sprint, McLaughlin was in control, while Waters and Mostert battled it out for second place. It wasn't long until Mostert pounced and relegated Waters to third place.
"I bogged it down but luckily Chaz got a bad one as well, so I was able to slot to the inside," said McLaughlin. "Overall, really happy, and the team did a great job."