By Eric Thompson

The imperious march of New Zealander Scott McLaughlin in the 2019 Supercars championship hit a speed bump in race two of the series in Tasmania.

After racing away to his sixth win this year, McLaughlin, who has not been feeling well all weekend, had by his standards a scrappy race but still managed to cross the finish line in fourth to maintain his lead in the championship.

We could have seen the same three Kiwis on the podium again, but while Shane van Gisbergen and Fabian Coulthard flew the New Zealand flag high, finishing first and second respectively, David Reynolds crossed in third.

Advertisement

Van Gisbergen had a horror round at Albert Park and sat 11th in the series at the start of the weekend. Sunday's race win is his first for 2019 and he never looked troubled, leading from start to finish. The win has hauled him up to fourth in the championship.

"I got an awesome start and managed to get a bit of a jump on Fabian and the others," said van Gisbergen. "It was great to have a bit of a buffer at the end when the rain started to come down.

"What a race and it's good to get one back. Fabian kept getting me back out of the pits and I had a good battle with him and Scotty and we've made a huge step forward with our car.

"The car was great today and we have a lot more confident heading into Phillip Island. It's a big aero track so we'll just have to see if we can keep improving."

Coulthard now sits in second behind his teammate McLaughlin on the points table and is happy with how his weekend went, collecting two second places over the weekend.

"That was definitely the quickest car today [van Gisbergen's]," said Coulthard. "We gave it our best shot and I'm rapt for my guys.

"A good weekend and we're looking forward to heading to Phillip Island next weekend."

Scott McLaughlin had a disappointing race but retains his overall lead. Photo / Getty
Scott McLaughlin had a disappointing race but retains his overall lead. Photo / Getty

Typical of a competitive racer, McLaughlin didn't have his usual beaming smile on his face at the race's end as a win means everything.

Advertisement

"I'm all good but I do want to win," he said. "I knew we couldn't keep winning every race we started and if you'd told me I'd be leaving here [Tasmania] with more than 100 points in the lead [124] I wouldn't have believed you.

"Congratulations to Shane and his team, they did a great job. We weren't quite as quick today and it was mentally draining with the rain and stuff. I was flipping out a bit and thought I was going to spray it a couple of times.

"I kept my head and kept it on the track, so all good."

There was a good weekend of redemption for another Kiwi in the field, Richie Stanaway. He appears to have his Supercars realigned after an abysmal 2018 and not so flash start to 2019. He qualified 17th for race one and went on to have his best finish this year in 16th.

Things got even better on Sunday when Stanaway had an inspired qualifying to start the race in seventh. He was circulating comfortably in 10/11th until his pitstop where a cross threaded wheel nut saw him drop to back of the field.

Driving well in changing and wet conditions Stanaway hauled himself up through the rear of the field to eventually finish 19th. Hopefully the worm has turned for the young New Zealander who has talent to burn, and we'll see him improve over the rest of the season.