McLaughlin aiming to avoid tense Supercars title fight

Scott McLaughlin says his aim is to avoid the Supercars title fight going down to the wire this year, with hopes of wrapping up a maiden crown nice and early.

The Kiwi was on the losing end of a thrilling conclusion to the 2017 Supercars season, just missing out on the title after a rollercoaster of a final round on the streets of Newcastle.

He even went into the final race of the season with a 78-point lead over Jamie Whincup, and crossed the line as champion – only to have the title taken away by an immediate post-race penalty for a late lash with Craig Lowndes.

With that painful loss still fresh in his mind, McLaughlin reckons he’s looking to avoid a final-race showdown this year, with plans to keep building on his 158-point advantage.

“I’m just trying to extend [the lead],” he said after taking a fourth-straight win in Perth on Sunday.

“I’m trying just to get as many points as I can. That’s all I can do. I learnt first hand [what can happen when] comes down to the wire and my aim is to try and make it not come down to the wire.

“But, that’s only going to come if we win races.”

McLaughlin added that maximising car speed potential even from tricky positions, such as winning from 19th on the grid in Perth, is key to his title tilt.

“When you’ve got a good car you’ve got to maximize it. We didn’t maximize it in qualifying [on Sunday], but we maximized it in the race.

“We used our car speed and came back through, and on our bad days, when they could potentially be bad, that’s what you’ve got to do.

“And on the good days, you’ve got to make sure you use your fast car. I felt like we’ve maximized it the last four races for sure.

“Even Tasmania I felt Craig [Lowndes] was the dominant car, but we managed to just fall in behind him in second and beat everyone else.”

As it stands, McLaughlin’s chief title rivals are Shane van Gisbergen and David Reynolds, with respective 158 and 168-point deficits. Lowndes is in the mix as well, 194 points behind McLaughlin, while Whincup has a whopping 268-point deficit to overcome if he’s to win an eighth title this year.

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