Pukekohe 500

Driving their Supercheap Auto sponsored Auto Trade Direct Commodore with great verve throughout, Scott McLaughlin and Jonathon Webb scored one race win and second place overall at the Pukekohe 500 endurance event last weekend.

The Pukekohe event marked the last time this historic venue's current layout would be used and McLaughlin and Webb were right in the mix all weekend. Coming off an opening endurance race win at Taupo Motorsport Park last month, McLaughlin qualified the car on pole position only to slip in second place, in the Top Ten Shootout, just 0.940 seconds slower than the Pukekohe master Greg Murphy - who is widely referred to as 'The King of Pukekohe'.

Race One saw the Supercheap Auto pair win after McLaughlin made a stunning outside pass at the high-speed first turn, dominating the early part of the race before handing over to Webb, who then brought the car home a healthy seven seconds ahead of multiple Pukekohe winner Murphy.

Race Two saw the Murphy - Perkins combination strike back, claiming a narrow win, after a unannounced safety car disappointingly allowed Murphy to claim the race lead while the final feature race had the big crowd eager to see who would come out on top. Yet again it was the McLaughlin/ Webb and Murphy/ Perkins pairings that fought it out at the front and in mixed conditions the race was an enthralling affair.

A slow pit stop and a quick spin by Webb, together with multiple Safety Car and a sprinkling of rain culminated in a one second race win to the Murphy/ Perkins duo, with Webb charging back late in the race and setting a new lap record in the process, but not quite able to launch an attack on Murphy.

McLaughlin's form of late has been sensational, winning five of his last eight races in New Zealand and never finishing lower than second in the other three. Coming off a sensational sixth place on debut in the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar event earlier this month (also alongside Webb) the 19-year-old Christchurch born, Gold Coast based driver now leads the New Zealand SuperTourer Championship with just one event left to run.

Qualifying McLaughlin/ Webb (1)
Top Ten Shoot Out McLaughlin/ Webb (2)
Race 1 McLaughlin/ Webb (1)
Race 2 McLaughlin/ Webb (2)
Race 3 McLaughlin/ Webb (2)
Overall McLaughlin/ Webb (2)
Championship McLaughlin (1)


McLaughlin: "Another great weekend and to be racing against my lifetime hero in Greg Murphy is just unreal. To come home ahead of him and Jack in race one was an incredible feeling and Webby did a stunning job to bring the Auto Trade Commodore to the chequered flag comfortably ahead. We were right in the final two races but a slightly slow stop lost us track position and Webby drove the wheels off the thing trying to catch Murph, but just couldn't quite get to him. To finish in second place with one win at what is the circuit's final event in this configuration means a lot to me and if I could win the first ever SuperTourers Championship it would be absolutely incredible" I really want to pay a Special thanks to our entire team who put so much into our preparation and race weekend, we would be nowhere without the commitment we get from the entire bunch of guys not to mention my Mums great cooking all weekend

Webb: "What a great place. This track is so fast and the bumps can catch you out but our boys gave us a very fast and compliant race car and we were on the money all weekend. Race one was a great result and I think we had the pace to win that final one too, but things just didn't quite go our way. Hats off to Greg and Jack on a popular and well deserved win. I just hope we can continue this form at the final event next month and I will be doing all I can to help Scotty win the championship."

NEXT ROUND - Powerbuilt Raceway Ruapuna Park, Christchurch - November 23-25, 2012