Competitive But Tough Winton Weekend For Volvo Polestar Racing
Technical problems and penalties stopped Volvo Polestar Racing drivers Scott McLaughlin and Robert Dahlgren during the Winton 400 V8 Supercars weekend.
Sixteenth as a best result for McLaughlin in the third race does not tell the whole tale, as the 20-year-old put the Volvo S60 V8 racer on its - and his - first ever V8 Supercars pole position, as well as leading two of the three races.
"I have mixed emotions after the weekend," said McLaughlin. "Qualifying for the final race was great with my first pole ever - I will never forget that. I had a good start in the race and lead for a while, the car was really strong."
McLaughlin showed strong form all weekend, qualifying second for the second race and leading it from the start. A battery problem forced McLaughlin to pit from the lead, dropping him three laps behind the leaders.
Sunday started strongly with the Kiwi claiming his and Volvo's first ever V8 Supercars pole position, and he headed the field from the start of the race. As McLaughlin made his first pit stop, the stewards issued him a penalty for speeding in the pitlane which dropped him from fighting for a podium finish with eventual race winner Mark Winterbottom to 16th in the end.
"I came into the pitlane and apparently I sped. I didn't speed across the timing loop; apparently it was by the radar gun. I can honestly say that I didn't speed or try to speed. It was just unfortunate for the boys in the team," said McLaughlin.
Team mate Robert Dahlgren had a troublesome race weekend as well where he failed to make the start of the first race due to a broken transmission. The Swede finished 24th in the second and third race, also receiving a drive through penalty for speeding in the pitlane in the final race.
"I wasn't happy with my performance in qualifying, but we were fairly fast in the races this weekend," he said.
"I tried to manage my tyres in the third race as I learned the hard way in the second race that they can go away pretty quick. I was penalised for speeding in the pitlane which cost me a lot. But I take the positives with me from this weekend and I really look forward to race in Scott's home country in three weeks' time," said Dahlgren.
Despite the troublesome weekend for Volvo Polestar Racing, McLaughlin is still in the top 10 of the championship and looks forward to his home race at Pukekohe Park Raceway in New Zealand.
"We still ended up 10th in the championship after a tough race weekend. Moving on to Pukekohe, it is going to be awesome to see the home fans. I think our car is going to be good there, we are definitely going to be able to challenge for wins and pole again," said McLaughlin.
Volvo Polestar Racing and the V8 Supercars Championship continues with the ITM 500 in Auckland, New Zealand, on 24-27 April.
"Result-wise this weekend was disappointing for us," said Christian Dahl, owner of Polestar. "But we need to remember that we are still in the very early stages of our V8 Supercars program.
"Scott showed all weekend that we have one of the fastest cars in the field with a pole position, a fastest lap in the final race and challenging for the win in two of the races. The team is doing a good job and it is all about keeping our heads down and continuing to work hard."
Race 1 Results - Top 5
1 Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore 34 laps
2 Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore +5.0197
3 Dale Wood Holden Commodore +10.9246
4 Jason Bright Holden Commodore +13.7479
5 Lee Holdsworth Mercedes E63 AMG +14.2459
DNF Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60
DNF Robert Dahlgren Volvo S60
Race 2 Results - Top 5
1 Lee Holdsworth Mercedes E63 AMG 34 laps
2 Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon +1.4505
3 Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore +3.3947
4 David Reynolds Ford Falcon +4.1908
5 David Wall Ford Falcon +8.1626
24 Robert Dahlgren Volvo S60 +1:21.3276
25 Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60 +3 laps
Race 3 Results - Top 5
1 Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon 67 laps
2 James Courtney Holden Commodore +9.4911
3 Tim Slade Holden Commodore +10.7745
4 Jason Bright Holden Commodore +19.7578
5 David Reynolds Ford Falcon +20.4569
16 Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60 +40.7056
24 Robert Dahlgren Volvo S60 +1 lap
Qualifying for Race 1 - Top 5
1 Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore 1:20.0444
2 Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore +0.0288
3 Dale Wood Holden Commodore +0.2086
4 Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore +0.3115
5 James Moffat Nissan Altima +0.3768
12 Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60 +0.7120
25 Robert Dahlgren Volvo S60 EXC
Qualifying for Race 2 - Top 5
1 Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore 1:19.6538
2 Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60 +0.1467
3 Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore +0.3244
4 Lee Holdsworth Mercedes E63 AMG +0.3710
5 David Reynolds Ford Falcon +0.4612
24 Robert Dahlgren Volvo S60 +1.3589
Qualifying for Race 3 - Top 5
1 Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60 1:21.5092
2 Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore +0.0611
3 Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore +0.0779
4 Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon +0.1269
5 Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore +0.1532
21 Robert Dahlgren Volvo S60 +0.7253
Winton 400 - V8 Supercars
Circuit: Winton Motor Raceway
Lap record (V8SC): 1:22.5291, Jason Bright (2014)
Championship positions - Top 10 (9/38 races)
1 Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore 701 points
2 Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon 673 (-28)
3 Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore 658 (-43)
4 James Courtney Holden Commodore 609 (-92)
5 Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore 606 (-95)
6 Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore 549 (-152)
7 Tim Slade Holden Commodore 473 (-228)
8 David Reynolds Ford Falcon 453 (-248)
9 Lee Holdsworth Mercedes E63 AMG 440 (-261)
10 Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60 406 (-295)
25 Robert Dahlgren Volvo S60 174 (-527)