Shane van Gisbergen denies Kiwi rival Scott McLaughlin perfect weekend, wins second race in Ipswich

The gloves are officially off in the Supercars title fight after Shane van Gisbergen hit back at series leader Scott McLaughlin in today's Ipswich SuperSprint at Queensland Raceway.

Holden's Van Gisbergen got the jump on pole-sitter McLaughlin at the start of the Ipswich round's 200km finale and went on claim the chequered flag by more than two seconds ahead of the Ford star.

Ford's Chaz Mostert was third, his first podium since last October's Gold Coast 600.

The stage is now set for a championship dog fight between 2016 series winner van Gisbergen and McLaughlin, who narrowly missed claiming his debut drivers' title last year.

Van Gisbergen's fourth win of the year has whittled McLaughlin's series lead down to just 131 points with seven of the season's 16 rounds remaining.

"That (start) dictates the race here," van Gisbergen said.

"If we start up there (front) we can race with them (McLaughlin's Ford).

"The cars are very even but we are missing something in qualifying consistency - we needed to get that start.

"But I am enjoying the title fight."

It was a shot in the arm for van Gisbergen after McLaughlin appeared unstoppable at Ipswich.

McLaughlin claimed pole before leading Saturday's 39-lap race from start to finish to beat van Gisbergen home by more than four seconds.

And the flying Kiwi looked set to deliver more of the same in today's 65-lap race after again taking out pole position.

It was his 10th pole of the year in 20 races, taking his career haul to 43 and equal third overall on the all-time list with Craig Lowndes.

But van Gisbergen wasn't to be denied on Sunday.

He enjoyed a blistering start for the second straight day, getting the jump on McLaughlin to snatch the lead by the first turn.

It followed Saturday's heroics in the opening 120km event where van Gisbergen remarkably moved from eighth to third on the first lap, eventually finishing second.

Today's race lead changed hands as both drivers used different tyre and fuel strategies.

But van Gisbergen emerged seconds ahead of McLaughlin after his second and final pit stop midway through the 65-lap race and was never headed.

"From here on I will just press on, take it as it comes. There's a lot more points on offer but I am excited about our car pace," McLaughlin said of the title fight.

Holden star Jamie Whincup finished fourth in the 27-strong field with sentimental favourite Craig Lowndes eighth.

Appearing at his 22nd and final Ipswich round, Lowndes, 44, is enjoying a Supercars swan song after announcing two weeks ago that he would retire from full-time racing at season's end.

The next round is the Sydney SuperNight 300 from August 3-4.


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Scott McLaughlin continues dominant weekend, claims pole position again for second Ipswich SuperSprint race

Supercars series leader Scott McLaughlin has claimed yet another pole position at the Ipswich SuperSprint at Queensland Raceway.

The Ford gun clocked one minute 08.49 seconds to top qualifying ahead of Holden's Shane van Gisbergen and Ford's Chaz Mostert for the round's 65-lap finale starting at 3:05pm NZT.

Remarkably it was McLaughlin's 10th pole of 2018 before the year's 20th race.

Still buzzing from his start to finish win in Saturday's 39-lap opener, McLaughlin took pole by 0.04 from his nearest title threat van Gisbergen.

Seven-time series champion Jamie Whincup was seventh fastest while crowd favourite Craig Lowndes will start eighth on the grid.

Lowndes is the sentimental favourite for today's race at his 22nd and final Ipswich round.

The 44-year-old is enjoying a Supercars swansong after announcing two weeks ago that he would retire from full-time racing at season's end.

But the man to beat is McLaughlin.

The flying Kiwi is on a high after claiming pole and clinching Saturday's opening race by more than four seconds from van Gisbergen.

It extended his series lead over his fellow New Zealander from 131 to 143 points.

"Everything's good. We're very happy...so we'll get after it today," McLaughlin said.

"The car was a bit looser today.

"It was a bit harder, so we need to work on that but I think we've got a really good shot today."

Scott McLaughlin of DJR Team Penske during the Coateshire Newcastle 500,  at the , Newcastle, New South Wales, November 24, 2017. Copyright photo: Clay Cross / www.photosport.nz
Scott McLaughlin Source: Photosport


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Scott McLaughlin converts Supercars pole position into race win at Ipswich SuperSprint

The biggest cheer may have been for someone else but Ford's Scott McLaughlin had no complaints after extending his Supercars series lead with a dominant Ipswich SuperSprint opening win.

McLaughlin should have been the toast of Queensland Raceway on Saturday.

The flying Kiwi claimed his ninth pole position of the year before dominating the 39-lap opener, taking line honours more than four seconds ahead of nearest title threat, Holden's Shane van Gisbergen.

McLaughlin claimed his seventh win of the year and 23rd of his career.

And he extended his series lead from 131 to 143 points over van Gisbergen ahead of Sunday's 65-lap Ipswich finale.

Yet the clear crowd favourite was third placegetter Craig Lowndes.

The Queensland Raceway faithful erupted when the 44-year-old stepped up to the podium and was later mobbed as he continued his Supercars swan song.

Lowndes' popularity has gone to another level after announcing a fortnight ago that he would retire from full-time racing at season's end.

The Holden great gave them plenty to cheer about on Saturday, fighting his way to third after starting at 10th, adding to his remarkable Ipswich record.

It was Lowndes' 23rd podium finish - including 12 wins - in 45 races at the track.

Lowndes, who arrived at Ipswich fifth in the standings, hoped the support helped him have a title tilt in his last hurrah.

"Hopefully the crowds keep coming out and supporting the category as a whole," Lowndes beamed.

"I am more relaxed now (since retirement call). I will push hard for the rest of the season - a top three finish would be great."

Catching McLaughlin will be easier said than done after the Kiwi edged away from van Gisbergen, turning the tables on the Red Bull Racing driver after his Ford had no answer at the last round in Townsville.

"I can't do any more than I have. We won the race, I extended the (series) gap (on van Gisbergen)," McLaughlin said.

"We feel like we are bouncing back."

Van Gisbergen kept McLaughlin honest when he jumped from eighth to third in the first lap of Saturday's 120km opener.

He was second by the 14th lap but could not reel in his fellow Kiwi.

Holden's seven-time series champion Jamie Whincup was just pipped of a podium finish by Lowndes but his fourth placing moves him ahead of David Reynolds into third on the drivers' standings.

Ford's Chaz Mostert qualified second fastest but dropped to fifth after copping a three-place grid penalty for impeding van Gisbergen during practice.

He finished sixth.

Whincup tangled with Mostert on lap three of Saturday's race but escaped sanction.

Whincup wasn't so fortunate in practice, copping a $1000 fine for an incorrect pit lane exit.

Holden's James Courtney - who finished eighth - set a new race lap record of one minute, 09.65 seconds, eclipsing his 2017 mark by 0.07 of a second.

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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