THE Bathurst 1000 started really well for Volvo Polestar Racing’s Scott McLaughlin, with the talented young racer in the lead for much of the first half of the race.
McLaughlin made an impressive start and rocketed past Shane Van Gisbergen and Mark Winterbottom to take the lead into the first corner, with the 33 car holding the lead, helped along by co-driver Alexandre Prémat making a strong run after the first pit stops.
Even team mate Robert Dahlgren, who has struggled with Australian racetracks this season, and co-driver Greg Ritter ran as high as fifth in the early parts of the race, and the team were buoyed for a good result, and possibly even victory.
But disaster struck for both cars in the same corner, just four laps apart. Dahlgren made a mistake and hit the wall at The Cutting, meaning a retirement from the race.
“Everything went our way at first and Greg did a great job,” Dahlgren said. “We climbed from 20th on the grid and were definitely in for a top 10 finish. Unfortunately I made a mistake that was really costly and I am sorry for the team.”
Four laps later McLaughlin got Van Gisbergen on the inside of him going into The Cutting on lap 119. The 21-year-old went wide and hit the wall, although without contact between the two.
“I didn’t know he was there until the last second and paid the price,” McLaughlin said. “I just got caught in the marbles and couldn’t back out of it. It was a fair move, but I couldn’t turn in or hang around the outside.”
The Kiwi was able to limp back into the pits for repairs, and after a massive effort by the team, he was able to rejoin the race, albeit eleven laps behind the leaders, and brought the car home in 17th position.
The 2014 Bathurst 1000 was filled with ups and downs for Volvo Polestar Racing. While crashes ended the race for the team, all four drivers showed great form with McLaughlin and Prémat putting a strong challenge for overall victory.
“It was a frustrating end to an exciting race,” said Christian Dahl, owner of Polestar. “But we bring the positive points with us. The team made a fantastic job repairing the car mid-race; Scott continues to impress; and we led almost half the race in our first year at Bathurst. We look forward to taking on the 2015 Bathurst 1000.”
Image courtesy of Ashleigh Gursbach