Everything to gain

  • 19/10/2015
  • By V8 Supercars
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Scott McLaughlin is confident that his break into the championship top ten at Bathurst is the start of a resurgence for the #33 Volvo.

After a standout year in 2014, the 22-year-old kiwi has endured a trying season this time around, with a series of mechanical failures and plain bad luck marring his 2015 campaign.

As the championship fell out of his reach earlier in the season, McLaughlin was forced to adjust his 2015 goal to a top ten finish, which started to be realised as the second half of the season ticked over, having scored pole position in Townsville and Eastern Creek, and finishing third at Queensland Raceway.

Now after his fifth place finish at Bathurst, McLaughlin finds himself ninth in the championship points and has warned he is on the up.

"The next few rounds really suit out car, we've gone well at these places before," McLaughlin told v8supercars.com.au.

"And I am really excited about it. There are still a lot of points available and we can really move up the championship ladder if we focus and put our head down.

"This is what we did in the second half of last season to get our top five finish. We just focused hard on finishing races and finishing in good spots, and that's where the points came from.

"So we're not just going to stop here. We're not just going to settle and be happy with a top ten. We want to keep going and potentially be closer to the front come the end of the year."

But while he's buoyed by his current points placing, McLaughlin isn't underestimating the challenge in staying inside the ten.

Only 19 points separate McLaughlin from Rick Kelly in 10th, ahead of James Courtney in 11th, who will be hungry for results this weekend after his absence at the past three rounds.

"It's very close in the points between myself all the way back to 13th, so it's pretty tight," McLaughlin said.

"But for us, I think people forget that we actually have had five DNFs this year - more than anyone else - so for us to be back in the ten means we've had a good run and we've really been able to make some ground.

"It's really unfortunate for James that he had his accident, but it has helped our cause a little bit. But even if it didn't happen, we would have still passed Rick to make it in the ten anyway based on our form, so we've had a good run.

"It's going to be an interesting second half of the championship because it's Frosty's to lose [as championship leader], but for us, we have everything to gain and I'm really looking forward to it."

It's been a hard fought battle by McLaughlin to near the front of the field again, but the 2014 Barry Sheene Medalist credits his Garry Rogers Motorsport squad for his return to form and is eager to reward them after standing with him through thick and thin, he said.

"To be 18th in the standings at Darwin was horrendous," McLaughlin said.

"But the team really got around each other and myself and together we just kept pushing on.

"We've been putting our best foot forward to try and keep finishing races and making sure we're up the front, and now it's starting to show."

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