McLaughlin grabs pole again in Sydney

Scott McLaughlin has again swept aside the Supercars field in qualifying, claiming an astonishing 12th pole position of the season at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The Kiwi series leader put two-tenths of a second between himself and the field in qualifying for Saturday’s 120km race at Eastern Creek, smashing Chaz Mostert’s qualifying lap record in the process.

In gusty conditions, McLaughlin lowered the benchmark by more than half a second.

Five others went below Mostert’s previous record.

Mark Winterbottom, who will join McLaughlin on the front row on Saturday, Shane van Gisbergen, Fabian Coulthard, Jamie Whincup and Tim Slade.

McLaughlin can’t be beaten for most poles this season and could match Jamie Whincup’s all-time qualifying record of 13 as soon as Sunday in Sydney.

After claiming the last six pole positions, few would bet against him.

He pledged to spend his winnings from the pole positions — at $22,000 and counting — with his DJR Team Penske team after the season.

“I’m looking forward to the Christmas party with the boys, it’s going to be awesome,” he joked after the qualifying session.

McLaughlin credited his engineer Ludo Lacroix — a Red Bull Racing defection — for his incredible times.

“I’m really enjoying my relationship with Ludo. He’s really pushing me,” he said.

“He’s really guiding me in a good direction and making me push harder than I ever have before.

“I’m a very lucky boy.”

Winterbottom, who recorded his highest qualifying effort of the season, was delighted to be best of the rest.

“I haven’t been this happy for a while,” he said.

“P2 is really good. It’s 1.5 seconds quicker than the test day here.

“With a front row start I can have a crack from there.”

The wind has died down from Friday’s blustery conditions but remains a factor at Eastern Creek.

“When the wind gusts it’s changing the car massively and you can feel the car moving around. It’s going to be a long race,” Winterbottom said.

“You’d rather be starting up the front and I’m happy we can race.”

Saturday’s 31-lap race starts at 4:25pm (AEST).

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