GREAT SCOTT

MCLAUGH­LIN LEAVES RI­VALS STAR­ING AT HIS BACK AF­TER SCORCH­ING BATHURST LAP RECORD

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - JAMES PHELPS

SCOTT McLaugh­lin cried tears of joy yes­ter­day af­ter re­al­is­ing his life­long dream of scor­ing a Bathurst 1000 pole­po­si­tion with a record-set­ting one-lap blitz around Mount Panorama.

In the fastest lap in the his­tory of the race, the DJR Team Penske pi­lot be­came a Mount Panorama great when he blitzed his way around the 6.2km track to win a fa­mous Top Ten Shootout with an inch per­fect drive.

Of­fi­cially claim­ing “The Lap of the Gods’’ by tak­ing the Mount Panorama record in a Top Ten Shootout, McLaugh­lin, 24, be­came the first man to go un­der the 2.04 mark.

The Ford flyer burst into tears when he crossed the line and saw the new record time flash up on his dash – 2.03.83.

“This is just a dream come true,’’ McLaugh­lin said. “I have been dream­ing about this since I was kid. Wow.’’

Af­ter what Bathurst great Mark Skaife de­scribed as a lifechang­ing mo­ment, McLaugh­lin fist-punched the air af­ter launch­ing him­self on top of the pit-straight wall.

“Oh my god,’’ McLaugh­lin said. “I am just over the moon.

“This is just crazy. I knew we could do that. I knew we could do those times.’’

Even the sec­ond-fastest, Dave Reynolds, ap­plauded the his­tory-mak­ing lap af­ter con­tin­u­ing his hot form to book a front row start to­day.

“That was quick,’’ the Ere- bus Holden driver said. “They have been su­per-fast all week­end and that lap was some­thing spe­cial.’’

The wall-brush­ing one-lap blitz be­gan with Garth Tan­der go­ing out first in his lat­est bid at Bathurst glory.

Tan­der clocked 2.05.32 to show the track was still po­ten­tially record-set­ting fast.

“We didn’t get a chance to re­hearse for this in prac­tice,’’ Tan­der said.

“But the guys did a great job set­ting it up for the shootout.

‘‘The car was re­ally nice and I am happy with that lap.’’

Ford vet­eran Ja­son Bright went bet­ter on the next blast but Holden’s James Court­ney made a mi­nor mis­take to put him­self out of con­tention for a gi­ant-killing Bathurst pole.

In his eighth Mount Panorama Top 10 Shootout, reign­ing se­ries cham­pion Shane Van Gis­ber­gen went fastest in the first sec­tor to an­nounce his Mount Panorama in­tent.

The Red Bull racer from New Zealand con­tin­ued to soar and recorded a 2.04.66 to go to the top with a bench­mark-set­ting time.

Fabian Coulthard threat­ened to fence his Fal­con com­ing into the cut­ting with top-ofthe-moun­tain slide that had hearts in mouths.

“I have strug­gled there all week­end so I am not crazy sur­prised that it hap­pened,’’ said Coulthard.

“But I was out to give it my all and that is what I did.’’

The DJR Team Penske pi­lot re­cov­ered to bank 2.04.96 and give him­self a solid 1000km race shot.

With shad­ows creep­ing across the track un­der the set­ting sun, Ford favourite Mark Win­ter­bot­tom blasted his way to pro­vi­sional pole with a nearper­fect lap.

“The track felt pretty good,’’ Win­ter­bot­tom said. “That wasn’t too bad. ‘‘It was a solid lap.’’ Win­ter­bot­tom’s Pro­drive Rac­ing Aus­tralia (PRA) team­mate Cam Waters could not top the driver they call Frosty’s time.

Nei­ther could fel­low PRA flyer Chaz Mostert, the for­mer Bathurst win­ner fail­ing to match Win­ter­bot­tom by just a tenth.

‘‘I was a bit con­ser­va­tive. I reckon I left a bit out there.’’

Pic­tures: Getty Im­ages

couri­er­mail.com.au/sport SHOOTOUT STAR: Scott McLaugh­lin punches the air af­ter claim­ing the Bathurst lap record be­fore cel­e­brat­ing with his team’s engi­neer­ing di­rec­tor Ludo Lacroix (below).

SET­TING RECORD: DJR Team Penske’s Scott McLaugh­lin driv­ing; and (in­set) cel­e­brat­ing with engi­neer­ing di­rec­tor Ludo Lacroix. Pic­tures: Getty Im­ages

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