The gripping fight for the Supercars championship will come down to the final race – and quite possibly, the final lap.

The pulsating battle that has raged all season between New Zealand drivers Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen reached new heights tonight, with van Gisbergen claiming a thrilling victory in the penultimate race in Newcastle.

With just two corners to go on the final lap of 95, van Gisbergen flew down the inside of McLaughlin, whose desperate attempts to conserve fuel while leading eventually cost him victory as van Gisbergen took the chequered flag.

McLaughlin had led for the second half of the race, with van Gisbergen having taken an extra pit stop during a safety car to drop back to eighth.


However, slowly but surely, he picked his way through the field, eventually moving into second, but with the deficit at six seconds with 12 laps remaining, he had a lot of ground to make up.

McLaughlin, meanwhile, was taking a risk, and as he conserved fuel, van Gisbergen drove up onto his bumper, before flying past at his last opportunity to claim a dramatic win – his eighth of the season.

The result saw what was set to become a 26-point advantage for McLaughlin cut to just two points, with only tomorrow's final race of the year remaining.

As McLaughlin puttered over the line – his car coming to a complete stop almost immediately after finishing – van Gisbergen celebrated wildly, knowing how important his late manoeuvre could turn out to be.

"I don't have much voice, there were so many words coming out of my mouth, that was awesome," van Gisbergen said.

"What a race. I could see Scotty was really charging. It was awesome, just two teams fighting hard.

"They obviously made a risky call to get all their fuel in, they did well there… I thought it was all over.

"It's winner takes all. It's awesome. I'm really enjoying the battle."


McLaughlin is now left in a similar scenario to last season – leading the championship with one race to go. Last year he lost a 78 point lead to Jamie Whincup on Sunday in Newcastle, this time he only has two points to defend.

It could have been more of a buffer, and McLaughlin was surprised he ran out of fuel at the end.

"I didn't actually think we were that close," McLaughlin said.

"I thought we were pretty good there for a while and then it started to get a bit more intense with the call on the fuel.

"But our car was really strong. If I pull my finger out and we qualify a bit better, we'll be right."

Van Gisbergen claimed 150 points for the win, with McLaughlin earning 138 for second, and the points system makes the championship equation simple tomorrow for the two rivals.

Cross the line before the other does, and win the title.

As it happened: