Caruso breaks win drought in Darwin opener

Saturday 18th June, 2016 - 5:46pm

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Michael Caruso's Nissan

Michael Caruso’s Nissan

Nissan’s Michael Caruso became the 10th different winner of the 2016 Supercars season after pole-sitter Shane van Gisbergen fell foul of a restart penalty.

The result comes seven years after Caruso’s first and only previous victory, also scored at Hidden Valley, and is Nissan’s second win in the Supercars era following success at Winton in 2013.

Caruso had out-dragged Van Gisbergen to lead at the first corner, staying clear of the chaos that was to unfold behind.

The pack was shuffled at Turn 5 as seventh placed starter Craig Lowndes spun following contact with Rick Kelly, who in turn had pressure being applied from Tim Slade behind.

One of the biggest beneficiaries was Garth Tander who charged from 25th to 16th on lap one, but losing his right-front door along the way resulted in a Safety Car and a trip to the garage.

The subsequent restart provided the race’s flashpoint as Van Gisbergen made minor contact with Caruso exiting the final corner before sneaking down the inside of the Altima before the control line.

Van Gisbergen’s eagerness soon earned him a drive-through penalty, leaving Davison – who also overtook the Nissan at the green flag – leading Caruso and Mostert.

Caruso was one of the first to stop when the pit window opened on lap 10, while Davison waited a further five laps before taking service.

When the front-running stops shook out Caruso had a comfortable three second lead over Mostert with Davison third and Jamie Whincup fourth.

Whincup picked off Davison on lap 24 and Mostert 12 laps later before closing Caruso’s margin to just 1.8s at the flag.

DJR Team Penske duo Scott Pye and Fabian Coulthard finished fifth and sixth respectively after both running long first stints.

Pye had been fortunate to escape without significant damage from the restart, which saw the Shell Ford scrape the inside wall after a touch from Whincup.

Todd Kelly, Lee Holdsworth, Mark Winterbottom and Scott McLaughlin filled seventh through 10th, while Lowndes recovered to 11th.

Van Gisbergen was five places further back after his drive-through penalty.

The results see Whincup jump from third to the head of the championship, now holding an 18 point lead over erstwhile leader Winterbottom.

Result: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown Race 12

1 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 42 50:12.3730
2 Red Bull Racing Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 42 50:14.1525
3 Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 42 50:17.4609
4 Team Darrell Lea STIX Will Davison Holden Commodore VF 42 50:18.4083
5 DJR Team Penske Scott Pye Ford Falcon FG/X 42 50:19.5667
6 DJR Team Penske Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 42 50:21.9819
7 carsales Racing Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 42 50:24.9066
8 Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VF 42 50:25.4794
9 The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 42 50:26.8857
10 Wilson Security Racing GRM Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60 42 50:27.7785
11 TeamVortex Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 42 50:28.2132
12 Team BOC Jason Bright Holden Commodore VF 42 50:28.8879
13 Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 42 50:34.1111
14 Super Black Racing Chris Pither Ford Falcon FG/X 42 50:40.0351
15 Sengled Motorsport Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 42 50:40.5791
16 Red Bull Racing Australia Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 42 50:40.9746
17 Erebus Motorsport Penrite David Reynolds Holden Commodore VF 42 50:46.4757
18 ABRO/Repair Management Aust Andre Heimgartner Holden Commodore VF 42 50:46.7109
19 Team Cooldrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 42 50:47.9239
20 GB Galvanizing Racing Dale Wood Nissan Altima 42 50:48.7978
21 Holden Racing Team James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 42 50:55.1633
22 Plus Fitness Racing Aaren Russell Holden Commodore VF 42 50:56.0539
23 Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 37 50:56.4546
24 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 33 50:56.6650
DNF Wilson Security Racing GRM James Moffat Volvo S60 27 50:31.0450
DNF ABRO/Repair Management Aust Nick Percat Holden Commodore VF

Championship Standings

1 Jamie Whincup 1185
2 Mark Winterbottom 1167
3 Scott McLaughlin 1134
4 Craig Lowndes 1116
5 Shane Van Gisbergen 1054
6 Will Davison 1032
7 Michael Caruso  933
8 Tim Slade  885
9 Rick Kelly  861
10 Garth Tander  844
11 Chaz Mostert  833
12 Todd Kelly  799
13 James Courtney  798
14 Fabian Coulthard  796
15 Scott Pye  775
16 Jason Bright  738
17 David Reynolds  691
18 Lee Holdsworth  648
19 Cameron Waters  646
20 James Moffat  546
21 Nick Percat  537
22 Dale Wood  484
23 Chris Pither  478
24 Tim Blanchard  464
25 Andre Heimgartner  395
26 Aaren Russell  336

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