THE Supercars Championship is a two-horse Kiwi race after wild Queensland storms thrust the Gold Coast 600 into chaos.
Ford gun Scott McLaughlin emerged from the sodden streets of Surfers Paradise with a 14-point lead in the championship standings after overtaking Red Bull Holden Racing Team rival Shane van Gisbergen over the weekend.
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With only two rounds left in the year, DJR Team Penske’s McLaughlin will battle van Gisbergen for the 2018 championship.
Sunday’s 300km race was abandoned on lap 42 after a torrential downpour left the street circuit unsafe for racing.
No points were awarded, leaving McLaughlin with the narrow lead he secured with a fifth-placed finish in Saturday’s race to overtake van Gisbergen in the standings.
“It’s a lead but it’s very slender,” McLaughlin said.
“Our objective this weekend was to try and close the gap. We certainly did that.
“We’re looking forward to the battle in the last two rounds.
“We’ve both good cars around these next two tracks. It’s going to be on.”
Will Brown drives through the rain before Sunday’s Gold Coast race was called off.Source:Getty Images
McLaughlin was at the centre of a dramatic finish in last year’s Newcastle finale which cost him a maiden championship and delivered Jamie Whincup a seventh title.
The 25-year-old from the Yatala-based Shell V-Power outfit is looking for redemption this year, but standing in his way is the 2016 champion van Gisbergen.
The series moves to Auckland on November 2-4 and van Gisbergen said pressure would play a part in the back end of the championship.
The championship season finishes in Newcastle on November 23-25.
“It’s like we’ve done 12 rounds for nothing. We’re starting from scratch,” van Gisbergen said.
“It’s a two-round race. It’s going to be exciting. The pressure’s going to be on.
“We’ve both got fast cars, it’s probably going to be whoever makes the least mistakes. I can’t wait.”
Craig Lowndes celebrates collected the Enduro Cup.Source:Getty Images
Whincup conceded his championship defence was over after falling 433 points behind McLaughlin, ending his hopes of an eighth title this year.
“She’s all over for me this year,” Whincup said.
“(Van Gisbergen) is well and truly in the charge so we’ll do everything to make sure he’s standing on the top step at the end of the year.”
Retiring legend Craig Lowndes collected the Enduro Cup following a tremendous endurance series in his last year as a full-time driver.
Partnering with co-driver Steven Richards, Lowndes finished third at Sandown, won Bathurst for the seventh time and was third in Saturday’s 300km race to secure the silverware.
“We came into this weekend with a bit of confidence coming off Bathurst,” Lowndes said.
“Our main focus is to maintain at least fourth in the championship.”
Originally published as Ford gun on top after Gold Coast chaos
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