Gutted McLaughlin vows to bounce back
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A gutted Scott McLaughlin is reflecting how he went from the penthouse to the outhouse at Bathurst over the weekend.
The 24-year-old Kiwi produced the fastest ever lap around Mt Panorama in a dominant top 10 shootout performance that had the entire sport talking. His flying lap was compared to his hero Greg Murphy's 2003 shootout lap that became known as the "Lap of the Gods" - one the most memorable performances at the iconic race.
But despite starting from pole McLaughlin's race did not go to plan. He completed just 25 laps before handing over his car to French co-driver Alex Premat. During Premat's stint the Shell V-Power Ford's engine started losing power. The team tried everything to rectify the problem while keeping the #17 car on the lead lap. But on lap 75 it gave up altogether heading up the mountain, ending McLaughlin's dreams of winning.
"I am gutted, I think if it was an all dry race, potentially, we had a really good car," McLaughlin told Speedcafe.
"Who knows? Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I felt like we had a really strong car in the race so to not be able to show that. It just leaves you wondering.
"It is a bit of a weird feeling. Getting out, my last lap was lap 24, so it was pretty weird.
"You can't do anything about it.
"We were travelling really good, the car was nice, second there and then all of a sudden we saw it's dropped speed down the straight and we just didn't know what it was.
"We thought we could have fixed it a couple of times, and I was getting ready to jump back in, and then thing just stopped and we were done."
It was a cruel blow for McLaughlin after his 2016 race was curtailed while in a position to win. He tangled with Jamie Whincup and Garth Tander costing him the shot at victory.
On top of the disappointment McLaughlin has also fallen to third in the championship standings, having taken an 84-point lead to Mt Panorama.
Teammate Fabian Coulthard has moved to the lead and holds a 91-point cushion over the Red Bull Holden of Jamie Whincup. McLaughlin is a further six points adrift in third.
It marks the first time since Darwin that McLaughlin has not been atop the standings but he is hoping to turn that around on the streets of the Gold Coast in a fortnight.
"I don't mind being the chaser for once for a while, it is nice too," said McLaughlin.
"We know we are fast at the Gold Coast, I feel like it is a good track for both of us and the last few races after that we should be okay.
"It is going to be a good battle for the championship, not only between me and Fabian, but also Jamie."