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Newcastle debuted on the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship with a spectacular 14-turn, 2.6-kilometre street circuit around the east-end of the town and along the foreshore and Nobbys Beach.
Five drivers entered the event with a mathematical chance of securing the championship, Jamie Whincup, Scott McLaughlin, Fabian Coulthard, Chaz Mostert and Shane van Gisbergen. Realistically, though, it was between Whincup and McLaughlin.
McLaughlin driver scored two pole positions in Newcastle, taking his record-breaking season tally to 16 – pole in 61 per cent of the races.
And he won the opening race of the weekend to take a healthy lead into the final race following a tyre failure for Whincup. But the title would be decided on the final lap of the 26th and final race of the season.
Three penalties, including for a last-lap tangle with Craig Lowndes, demoted McLaughlin to 18th and opened the door for Whincup to snatch the title.
While the drama played out with McLaughlin, Whincup did his bit with a commanding performance across the event and won the final race to secure his seventh drivers’ championship.
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