'I haven't had the best run here' - Scott McLaughlin embracing Bathurst underdog tag

DJR Team Penske ace Scott McLaughlin believes the pressure at Bathurst sits squarely with his Triple Eight opponents.

And he just might be right, given the 25-year-old isn't expected to triumph this weekend at Mount Panorama.

The rampaging Red Bulls are favourites, given they locked out the podium at the Sandown 500 in impressive style.

Reigning series champion Jamie Whincup continued that run, claiming provisional pole while McLaughlin qualified for the top ten shootout in third place.

The Kiwi star has suffered a wretched run in Bathurst, with a best result in six attempts of fifth.

Last time out he set a lap record in qualifying only and looked set to break his podium duck, only for co-driver Alex Premat to suffer a mid-race engine failure.

"I haven't had the best run here," he says sheepishly, as if the feted track has it in for him.

"We had a great car last year and we unfortunately couldn't use it.

"But I want to turn that around."

Central to the turnaround is a mindset shift.

McLaughlin arrived last year in Bathurst as championship leader, a tag that is battled as much as any on-track opponent.

This year, he's relieved himself of that burden and is embracing another role.

"We're the underdog now," he said.

Given his days with Garry Rogers Motorsport in the Volvo S60, it's a position he sits more comfortably in.

"I enjoy it because I've been brought up like that. I'm still learning how to be the chased or the hunted," he said.

"The form that the other guys have been showing, they're very fast so the pressure is on them now to hold that pace.

"We've got good kick up the arse to try and get our pace back to where it was. Nothing like a bit of a challenge."

McLaughlin said the Triple Eight 1-2-3 at Sandown prompted him and engineer Ludo Lacroix nto a new approach at Bathurst.

"I was blown away by their pace but I came in this weekend with Ludo and said 'let's just focus on what we've got'," he said.

"Before I thought we were maybe trying to find the unfindables. Swinging massive set-up changes and trying too many things.

"Here, we've brought it back to simple. If that's good enough, great. If not, we'll come back next year."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22:  race winner Scott McLaughlin driver of the #17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Ford Falcon FGX celebrates on the podium during race 1 for the Supercars Australian Grand Prix round at Albert Park on March 22, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)
Scott McLaughlin on the podium at the Australian GP. Source: Getty


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