Scott McLaughlin has had better days in V8 Supercars, but few as satisfying as Sunday at Barbagallo Raceway.
The 22-year-old arrived in Perth with a team close to breaking point, having lost manufacturer support from Volvo in the past week.
Seeing downbeat faces in the Garry Rogers Motorsport garage told him this was a weekend to step up and be a leader.
He fell flat in Saturday’s 120km race, finishing outside the top 10.
On Sunday he delivered, finishing second and almost snatching the win in a tight tussle with Mark Winterbottom.
The Kiwi said he only realised what it meant to the team when he was back in the garage.
“It’s pretty cool when you see your boss at the end of the race and he’s in tears … you feel like you’ve done a good job,” he said.
“It was an awkward situation because no one knows what’s ahead.”
Rogers has vowed to hang on to a Volvo license for next year despite the request from head office, rallying the team this weekend.
While 2017 remains a huge issue for the team, McLaughlin’s efforts this season have him in championship reckoning.
McLaughlin is third in the standings, just 48 points behind leader Craig Lowndes.
“It’s nice to be getting good results at the right times,” he said.
“I’m trying to be consistent, racing each race as it comes and not worrying about the points.”
His only regret was the timing of his overtaking effort on Winterbottom.
“It was a good battle but I was pretty gutted,” he said.
“I wish I didn’t have a go (on lap 82). I got too excited.
“I went too early and stuffed it. All in all, second is a great result for us.”