All eyes on Kiwis at Pukekohe, as weather disrupts Supercars battle
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The upcoming ITM Auckland SuperSprint takes on more significance for the Australia Supercars Championship after the second day of racing at the Gold Coast was ruled out because of storms that hit the region.
It means that Scott McLaughlin brings his Team Penske Ford to Pukekohe Park in two weeks with a slender 14 point lead in the championship over fellow Kiwi and 2016 Champion Shane van Gisbergen in his Red Bull Racing Holden.
Sunday's second leg of the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 has been declared a non-event, with no points to be awarded, after racing was unable to resume amid a heavy storm.
Wild weather lashed south-east Queensland into the afternoon, in what was due to be Race 27 of the 2018 Australia Supercars Championship and the Enduro Cup finale.
What was originally a 102-lap race was run in overcast-but largely dry conditions until lap 29, when the heavens opened.
A Safety Car called for Paul Dumbrell's crash was interrupted on lap 37 only by the suspension of the race for the first time.
Standing water and rivers running across the track surface were the chief concerns, and a second attempt to restart proceedings only lasted another five laps behind the Safety Car.
The race was suspended again as the conditions further deteriorated before it was ultimately cancelled at 4:25pm, 4:48pm AEST having been the time certain finish, declared a non-race with no points awarded.
As a result, McLaughlin will head to the ITM Auckland SuperSprint on November 2-4 with a 14-point championship lead over van Gisbergen, with four races remaining – two 200km races in at Pukekohe and two at Newscastle.
Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards are also the winners of the 2018 Enduro Cup, by 87 points over McLaughlin and Alex Premat.
Lowndes, who retires as a fulltime driver in Supercars at the end of the season, will head to Pukekohe for the final time. The seven-time Bathurst winner has never won at Pukekohe, the track used for more than 10 years for the championship, where he not reached the top of the podium.
- NZ Herald