Maligned Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin has finally found support from a rival, with Cam Waters defending the embattled Kiwi.
Ford star McLaughlin has been sledged fiercely by some competitors leading into this weekend’s season-ending Newcastle 500.
Holden trio Scott Pye, Nick Percat and David Reynolds all questioned the legitimacy of McLaughin’s 2019 crown after he was sanctioned for using an illegal engine at Bathurst.
Pye said the title would “forever be tainted” and compared McLaughlin to disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, comments which Percat endorsed.
Reynolds described as “questionable” McLaughlin’s campaign of 18 wins from 30 races, but Waters said the trio was just jealous of his success.
“It’s crossing the line and I think it’s probably a bit of tall poppy syndrome going on,” Waters told AAP.
“He’s had a really good year and, obviously, the stuff that’s happened, I don’t think has really influenced what he’s achieved this year.
“As a driver, he’s been driving really well, so it’s a shame.”
Waters said every team was looking for an edge and vulnerable to falling foul of the rules.
“As a series and the teams in this series, you’re always pushing the limits with the cars with absolutely everything, so it can happen to any of us,” he said.
“I think what happened with the engine – it wasn’t that big an over-the-line (breach) if that makes sense.
“I wouldn’t agree it’s tainted, his championship.”
Waters went one step further to say any criticism should be directed at the people issuing McLaughlin’s orders – DJR Team Penske.
“As a driver, you get in the car and do the best job you can and see his onboard laps and his qualifying laps and he’s hustling the thing and doing a good job,” he said.
“He’s getting the laps done and that’s hard to do whether you’re in a good car or a s**t car.
“I think all the flak has been pushed towards the wrong direction.”