Tekno Autosports’ Shane van Gisbergen made light work of tricky wet conditions to take a comfortable victory in Race 26 at the Sydney Motorsport Park 400.
The Kiwi proved imperious in the slippery conditions as he surged from sixth on the grid to inherit the lead after capitalising on a mistake from Jamie Whincup.
The Holden driver stayed cool despite two Safety Car periods to take the chequered flag in the first wet V8 Supercars Championship race since 2011.
Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander produced an equally impressive drive to come home in second, having started from 14th on the grid, while Craig Lowndes pipped Red Bull team-mate Jamie Whincup to the final podium place.
Rain began to fall an hour before the start, leaving drivers facing treacherous track conditions.
Polesitter Whincup managed to get the power down at the start to lead the field into the first turn from Scott McLaughlin, while van Gisbergen surged from sixth to third with a lightening start.
Lowndes held firm in fourth while the Nissan’s of Rick Kelly and Michael Caruso struggle for traction at the start.
The slippery conditions claimed its first victim when the field reached Turn 3 as David Reynolds was tagged into a spin.
The Ford Performance Racing runner was collected hard by Tim Slade with the impact sending the South Australian’s Commodore up onto two wheels. The incident brought out the Safety Car.
Whincup led from the restart but behind there was plenty of action as van Gisbergen slipped down the inside for McLaughlin for second, while Garth Tander moved into an impressive fifth.
However, by lap seven the conditions caught out Whincup as he ran wide and gifted the lead to van Gisbergen.
The reigning champion continued to slide down the field as McLaughlin and Lowndes both found a way passed the Red Bull driver.
Meanwhile, out in front van Gisbergen had built up a healthy lead from McLaughlin and seemed in control of the race.
Championship contender Mark Winterbottom was another driver struggling for speed languishing in 18th spot one place behind his qualifying position.
The Safety Car was deployed for a second time as the race reached the halfway mark when McLaughlin suffered an engine failure and parked his Volvo at Turn 2.
Winterbottom pitted under the Safety Car for a fresh set of wet tyres dropping three positions.
As a result, Lowndes moved into second while Whincup was forced to fend off Tander for third.
Tander’s glory drive continued on the restart by moving into second with slick passes on the Red Bull duo of Whincup and Lowndes.
Behind the battles in the midfield were frantic while Caruso began to size up Whincup for fourth spot.
There was no stopping van Gisbergen at the front as he took the race win from Tander and Lowndes.
Whincup came home in fifth ahead of Nissan Motorsport’s Caruso, Rick Kelly, Erebus Motorsport’s Will Davison, James Courtney and Jason Bright.
Dick Johnson racing’s Scott Pye 10th position from Lee Holdsworth on the start/finish straight.
Winterbottom’s pit stop proved to be a smart move from FPR as he scythed his way through the field to recover to 12th place.
Race 27 will begin at 4.30pm local time.
Race 26 Results
|1||Team Tekno VIP Petfoods||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||25||47:54.8944|
|2||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||25||48:04.0509|
|3||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||25||48:11.6177|
|4||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||25||48:15.3656|
|5||Norton Hornets||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||25||48:15.6817|
|6||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||25||48:16.8819|
|7||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Mercedes E63 AMG||25||48:17.1025|
|8||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||25||48:18.7288|
|9||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||25||48:20.0693|
|10||Wilson Security Racing||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG||25||48:27.9821|
|11||Erebus Motorsport V8||Lee Holdsworth||Mercedes E63 AMG||25||48:27.9918|
|12||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||25||48:30.7212|
|13||Norton Hornets||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||25||48:30.7463|
|14||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG||25||48:31.6239|
|15||Repair Management Aust Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VF||25||48:31.9995|
|16||Team JELD-WEN||Jack Perkins||Ford Falcon FG||25||48:32.1963|
|17||Walkinshaw Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||25||48:33.4957|
|18||Team Advam/GB||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||25||48:33.7525|
|19||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Ford Falcon FG||25||48:34.2502|
|20||Valvoline Racing GRM||Robert Dahlgren||Volvo S60||25||48:34.4502|
|DNF||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||16||33:06.7341|
|DNF||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||16||33:31.3468|
|DNF||Valvoline Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||11||22:04.2723|
|DNF||Supercheap Auto Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||1||2:57.6916|
|DNF||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||1||4:01.3141|