One of the great mysteries of the 2018 Supercars season to this point is what is going wrong with Kiwi driver Fabian Coulthard.

The Shell V-Power racer led the championship and was a main contender towards the back end of last season while he was expected to be a major player again in 2018 but his form has deserted him and he languishes in ninth spot on the championship ladder – a whopping 438 points behind his Ford teammate Scott McLaughlin.

Coulthard struggled for pace in the season-opening event in Adelaide, has been burned by mechanical failure, set-up failure and bad strategy ever since.

"You look at the time sheet and wonder what is going on with Fabian but he has had a lot of problems," McLaughlin told The Herald.

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"Fabs has been on the end of a lot of bad luck.

"Obviously at Phillip Island he showed some great speed and at Tasmania he showed good speed. He has just missed out on a lot of top five finishes that would really put him near me in the championship.

"Those guys have got the speed don't get me wrong and Fabs hasn't forgotten how to drive."

What makes Coulthard's bad run even more eye-catching is the impressive run McLaughlin has enjoyed over the same period.

The 24-year-old has recorded three of the last four pole positions and won four straight races to open up a healthy championship lead.

But it isn't simply a case of thinking if one car is fast the other should be as well. Coulthard and McLaughlin have quite different driving techniques – the former is a left-foot braker while McLaughlin has a distinct way of driving through the corners, which means the cars need to be set-up differently.

McLaughlin insists there is nothing that Coulthard is doing wrong at the moment and the worst thing he could do is go chasing results by doing things differently. He expects the luck to change and for Coulthard to hit his straps any time now.

"It is a matter of really trying to minimize the bad luck or the problems they've had with that car – the wheel nut falling off was not ideal and a couple of other things that have happened," McLaughlin said.

"He is always pushing me and we get along great; we work together fine and if anything, I think it will turn around soon and we will be chasing him again."

The next round is at Winton in rural Victoria next weekend.