IT had been a week at Mount Panorama which promised so much for Scott McLaughlin and the DJR Penske team but their Bathurst 1000 campaign came to a cruel stop just before the halfway point of the main event.
McLaughlin had secured pole position on Saturday with a record breaking lap and on Sunday – despite an early hiccup at Murrays Corner – he and co-driver Alex Premat remained among the front runners.
The safety car hadn’t make an appearance for the first 76 laps of the race but the long run of green flag racing was about to come to an end, courtesy of the pole-sitting car.
Premat was behind the wheel when shortly after the third round of pit stops the DJR Falcon lost oil pressure.
The issue forced Premat to bring the car to a slow, heart breaking stop on The Cutting.
The day didn’t get off to an encouraging start for McLaughlin when he ran deep at Murrays Corner on just the second lap of the race.
On lap 10 McLaughlin was sitting in fifth place trying to claw back his lost spots.
After the first pit window and with Premat starting his stint behind the wheel the pole-sitting car was just one spot away from where it had started the race.
Premat’s hopes of taking the lead were dashed a runaway Richie Stanaway, who dominated during the first stint for co-drivers.
There was a scary moment for the Frenchman at the Dipper when he ran a touch wide on lap 49.
The shaky moment threatened to repeat Shane Van Gisbergen’s incident at the same spot earlier in the week but Premat was able to turn the car into the corner and avoid the wall.
The DJR Penske Falcon wasn’t matching the pace of their rivals during the Premat’s stint.
When Premat had to bring the car to a stop at turn three he looked defeated, knowing that a week that had been flawless had just came to a jarring close.
At one stage McLaughlin’s teammate Fabian Coultard found himself a lap down.
However, Coulthard recovered to not only find a podium finish – courtesy of a late error from Nick Percat – but to also take the championship lead.
It’s the first time this season that McLaughlin has failed to finish a race, and just the fifth time he has failed to finish inside the top 10.
The DNF continues a tough run of results for McLaughlin at Mount Panorama.
The DJR driver made his mark with a sixth place on Bathurst debut in 2012. He improved his best result to fifth in 2015 when driving alongside Premat at Garry Rogers Motorsport. His other results are 8th, 15th and 17th.