"I was catching [eventual winner Mark] Winterbottom and I took on a lot of fuel at the [first] stop," McLaughlin told v8supercars.com.au.
"I was looking pretty good, caught Winterbottom and got to the point I was not far away from him and had cars between us.
"We were looking pretty good, then just lost power steering, and I think the power steering's smacked the pulley, smacked the other pulley and it all turned to sh*t.
"Basically braking into turn 10, lost power steering and couldn't turn it - I knew I was done from then on."
It has been a tough second season with Volvo at Wilson Security GRM for McLaughlin, who has faced a number of engine and power steering issues since the opening Clipsal 500 and has recorded five DNFs, which he noted is the most of any driver in the field.
He acknowledged the performance of the Prodrive Falcons this season - with Winterbottom leading the Championship and Chaz Mostert leading the pole tally - but felt he would've been able to get the job done in Sunday's race.
"He's [Mostert] done a good job, Mark's done a good job as well, but we definitely had their measure, that's for sure," McLaughlin said.
"Those Fords are in another league at the moment and I think at the end of the day it's one of those things, everybody has to rise. They're where Triple Eight was a couple of years ago and everyone else's just got to try and get there...
"I think I'm 100 per cent happy with how we're going at GRM chassis wise, but the engine is suffering a bit. So I think we've just got to keep our heads down and we'll be right. I'm proud of everyone's efforts; I can't thank them enough."
With the Championship out of reach back in 17th position, McLaughlin is still focussed on moving up the order and has adjusted his goal to a top 10 finish in 2015.
"We're just going to push on and do as much as we can, have a big charge," he said.
"I got up to 12th in the Championship [Saturday] but then no points [Sunday] puts me back where I was.
"I think we'll be alright - it's all pretty tight there, from where I am to 10th."
There are 117 points separating McLaughlin from Todd Kelly, who sits 11th, and 192 points to Rick Kelly in 10th. There is a huge margin from 10th back up to first, with 580 points between Rick and Winterbottom.
"I'm not ruling out a top 10 result in the Championship," McLaughlin said.
"At the end of the day I'm probably in a good position, I don't have to worry about the Championship, I can make moves and I don't have to worry about ... ruining anything."
"We will again be analysing, re-analysing and re-reanalysing all aspects of our performance and hopefully gain some confidence and belief from the positive points, but also learn some valuable lessons from other areas," he wrote.
The next stop on the calendar, Queensland Raceway, hosted a McLaughlin victory in his first year with GRM and a pole and podium finish last year.
"I think we have definitely made gains and it's a credit to all the guys here," McLaughlin said.
"We just have to see how we go at QR, we were good there last year again.
"Look, I've got 100 per cent belief we'll be right, but at the end of the day it's such a mixed bag these days you don't know where you're at. But [the] car felt good ... that's the main thing."