Like every other driver in the Supercars championship Kiwi Fabian Coulthard can only watch in awe and tip his hat to teammate and countryman Scott McLaughlin for his incredible qualifying performances.

McLaughlin has totally dominated qualifying for a second consecutive season. Last year he set a new single season record for the most pole positions (16) – smashing the previous record (13) in the process.

The challenge remains for every driver in the field to catch up to the Shell V-Power racer but the pressure is even more demanding on Coulthard, who essentially has the same equipment as McLaughlin.

But that might be unfair on the 34-year-old Coulthard. He is a left-foot braker, which means at times the car is set-up a little differently to McLaughlin's. Coulthard injured his right foot in karting many years ago and is unable to right foot brake effectively. McLaughlin's relationship with his engineer is the envy of pit lane as well.


"Relative to Scotty – hands down it is the one area I want to improve," Coulthard told The Herald. "He is definitely nailing that aspect of the game. I think it is a combination of Ludo [engineer Ludo Lacroix] and Scott being a formidable partnership.

"We are getting better – the last round wasn't so good. I am learning with my engineer Mark Fenning – it is a new relationship for this year.

"It is only going to get better."

There appears to be a genuine friendship between Coulthard and McLaughlin and the former is pleased for his younger teammate that the season is going so well for him.

"It is awesome to have Scotty in the garage next door – he is definitely the benchmark guy in qualifying," Coulthard said. "To have that and be able to learn from it is something I have never had in a Supercars team before.

"Even though we are getting beaten it is the best thing that could happen. He pushes me and I push him."

Coulthard lies sixth in the championship standings heading into this weekend's round at Queensland Raceway but has made ground relative to his rivals in the past few rounds.

If he can sort out his qualifying performances Coulthard is confident he can fight for race wins and get himself right into the championship fight.


"Qualifying at the front is going to make racing a lot easier. We can race OK – we saw that at Townsville going from 18th to eighth so we have got the good race pace and race craft to pass cars but we need to start further up.

"I think we have been fast enough all year so I don't think it is fair to say that we have just found speed. We have had speed, we just haven't had the luck and you need an element of luck on your side in this sport.

"We need to have a smooth run between now and November and collect a lot of points and I think we will be somewhere close.

"We were 23rd in the championship at one point and now we are sixth."

Race winners: It will be a battle between the two Red Bull Holden drivers (Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen) on their home track and McLaughlin.
Keep an eye on: Rick Kelly – the Nissan has shown significant improvement in recent rounds.
Pressure on: The whole Tickford Racing stable and James Courtney, who is consistently getting bettered by teammate Scott Pye.