Melbourne Streets Await Supercars

Picture: Simon Cross/News Corp Australia
Scott McLaughlin out for more than just a 'Sunday drive' at the Australian Grand Prix. Picture: Simon Cross/News Corp Australia

Playing second fiddle to the Formula 1 circus, the V8 Supercars will share to streets around Albert Park. Though not part of their championship, the Supercar superstars are scheduled to light up the circuit in four races. And V8 traditionalists are cringing at the prospect of a Volvo (yes from the land of ‘Sven the Swedish masseuse’ and Ikea) winning, with Scott McLaughlin  rated a realistic chance to upset the all-conquering Red Bull team of Jamie Whincup  and Craig Lowndes .

Twelve months ago, McLaughlin announced his arrival on the Supercar stage with victory in the final race at Albert Park where he beat Lowndes and fellow Kiwi Fabian Coulthard . His maiden victory coming at just his sixth outing as a fulltime driver in the series. That was in a Holden, now he’s behind the wheel of a Volva S60. McLaughlin did a lot to help shed Volvo’s long-held stereotype (courteous drivers wearing caps and gloves on a casual ‘Sunday drive’) by finishing second in Race 2 of the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide at the beginning of the month.

Melbourne usually throws up new winners, brilliant racing, a touch of controversy and at times, all four seasons in one day. Like McLaughlin, Coulthard posted his first V8 victory at the Australian Grand Prix. Whincup didn’t crack the podium at the AGP last year. He and Lowndes (and six other cars) were excluded from Race 3 after accidently breaching technical rules with an ignition timing setting. They also copped penalties for pit infringements in Race 2.

HRT doesn’t have found memories of the 2013 F1 support race either. Garth Tander  recorded three DNFs, while James Courtney  didn’t complete the final race. New Nissan driver James Moffat  came close to a podium finish in Friday’s race (2013) before blowing a gasket and engaging in a heated confrontation, which ended in a push and shove with Scott Pye .

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