Scott McLaughlin heads to the Gold Coast "all guns blazing"
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Kiwi Scott McLaughlin will have the bit between the teeth on the streets of Surfers Paradise this weekend as he looks to make up the ground he lost at Bathurst.
The 24-year-old went to Bathurst with a handy championship advantage but left 97 points adrift of Shell V-Power Racing teammate Fabian Coulthard courtesy of a DNF with engine failure.
While that would be hard to swallow for anyone, McLaughlin has been the dominant driver in the second half of the Supercars season and he is confident he can make back that ground over the three remaining events.
"It could have been a lot worse for us - we could have been 300 down but instead it is only 90-odd so we are well inside the championship fight," McLaughlin told Radio Sport's D'Arcy Waldegrave. His title rival Jamie Whincup also suffered a major engine failure at Mt Panorama which minimized the damage for McLaughlin.
"I am excited to be honest," he insisted. "We have done it before - earlier this year we came from a good 200 points down. So being only 90-odd points behind Fabian and Jamie - it is exciting because I get to be the chaser now.
"At the end of the day we have got six more points races left and the only way you are going to win the championship this year I think, with how competitive it is, is to win races.
"I am confident we have got a great car and most of the next rounds and I have pretty good pace on the guys I am fighting so if I can continue that we should be ok."
McLaughlin is well-suited to the street circuit on the Gold Coast. The concrete barriers can make it an unforgiving place but both he and fellow Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen have enjoyed plenty of success jumping the curbs on the holiday strip.
"I love the Gold Coast - I think me and Shane both love street circuits," McLaughlin said. "It looks like it is going to rain to so that will make it interesting.
"I have probably less to lose now so it will be all guns blazing."
And McLaughlin is adamant that team orders won't come into the equation.
"Na not at all," he said. "I think we race hard to the end - I am picking it is going to be close the whole time so there will be no point worrying about that sort of stuff."
Car to beat: Shane van Gisbergen/Matt Campbell or Scott McLaughlin/Alex Premat. The two Kiwis are the two best street course drivers in the field and both will be aggressive chasing the championship.
Dark horse: James Courtney/Jack Perkins. Courtney is superb on street courses too and the car showed improved performance at Bathurst.
Pressure on: Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell's team who let them down with over-aggressive camber settings at Sandown and gave them a car that broke at Bathurst.