Van Gisbergen hangs on for Race 15 victory

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen

Red Bull’s Shane van Gisbergen took his third win of the Supercars season in a Townsville finale spiced up by a late Safety Car.

The Kiwi took the flag 1.2s ahead of James Courtney, who blazed through from ninth while on new tyres in a six lap sprint to the finish.

Courtney edged Mark Winterbottom at the chequered flag, continuing the Holden Racing Team’s run of scoring a podium finish every year since the event’s inception.

Saturday winner Jamie Whincup was just fourth after losing out on pit strategy early in the 200km race.

Crucially, a lock-up from Van Gisbergen in the opening laps while runinng fourth behind Winterbottom, David Reynolds and Whincup saw Red Bull elect to switch strategies between its two cars.

Whincup had pit priority due to his track position but, with Van Gisbergen nursing a flat-spotted tyre, it was the Kiwi in first on lap 12.

While the other front-runners pitted shortly after, Whincup ran a further 12 laps before finally making his first stop, rejoining down in 12th after a long fuel fill.

The second stops were triggered a short time later when the Safety Car was called to retrieve Kurt Kostecki’s Holden, which made the fence at Turn 10 after a mechanical failure.

Winterbottom, Van Gisbergen and Reynolds remained the top three for the restart 35 laps from home, with Whincup vaulting up to fourth thanks to a shorter fill time.

Van Gisbergen made his move soon after the restart, darting down the inside of The Bottle-O Ford before easing out to a near 2s lead.

A second Safety Car was required to retrieve Andre Heimgartner’s Holden 11 laps from home, triggering another flurry of stops.

Eighth-placed Courtney was the highest of those to stop, leading a train of cars including Cameron Waters, Michael Caruso and Jason Bright to pitlane.

Craig Lowndes, who fell dramatically backwards while struggling with tyres in the third stint, and Scott Pye were also on fresh rubber after stopping just prior to the yellows.

Courtney proved the only one able to cut through into the top five in the sprint to the end as Waters, Pye, Caruso, Bright and Lowndes ended up sixth through 10th.

Fifth meanwhile proved a solid reward for Scott McLaughlin, whose championship hopes suffered a blow with an opening lap tangle on Saturday.

Reynolds also ran at the front of the field for the majority of the race but ended up just 14th as he fell behind those on newer rubber.

Nick Percat’s horror weekend ended with a second steering failure in as many days, resulting in the LDM Holden nosing into the tyres at Turn 11 early in the final stint.

Todd Kelly and Tim Slade had found trouble at the start, with a tangle on the run to Turn 1 sending both to the pitlane at the end of the opening lap.

The results see Van Gisbergen move to second in the standings, 53 points adrift of leader Whincup.

Result: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Castrol Edge Townsville 400 Race 15 

1 Red Bull Racing Australia Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 70 01:35:25.6070
2 Holden Racing Team James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 70 01:35:26.8653
3 The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 70 01:35:26.8982
4 Red Bull Racing Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 70 01:35:28.1146
5 Wilson Security Racing GRM Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60 70 01:35:29.4460
6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 70 01:35:30.4718
7 DJR Team Penske Scott Pye Ford Falcon FG/X 70 01:35:31.3647
8 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 70 01:35:31.7514
9 Team BOC Jason Bright Holden Commodore VF 70 01:35:32.3611
10 TeamVortex Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 70 01:35:33.5349
11 Team Darrell Lea STIX Will Davison Holden Commodore VF 70 01:35:34.8881
12 Sengled Motorsport Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 70 01:35:34.9107
13 Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 70 01:35:35.8122
14 Erebus Motorsport Penrite David Reynolds Holden Commodore VF 70 01:35:37.5051
15 DJR Team Penske Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 70 01:35:37.7218
16 Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 70 01:35:38.2862
17 Team Cooldrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 70 01:35:38.6809
18 GB Galvanizing Racing Dale Wood Nissan Altima 70 01:35:41.1701
19 Wilson Security Racing GRM James Moffat Volvo S60 70 01:35:41.2400
20 Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 70 01:35:42.9523
21 Plus Fitness Racing Aaren Russell Holden Commodore VF 70 01:35:43.0938
22 Super Black Racing Chris Pither Ford Falcon FG/X 69 01:35:29.7848
23 carsales Racing Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 69 01:35:43.3183
DNF LD Motorsport Andre Heimgartner Holden Commodore VF 60 01:20:53.9487
DNF LD Motorsport Nick Percat Holden Commodore VF 40    55:32.7807
DNF Preston Hire Racing Kurt Kostecki Holden Commodore VF 29    37:48.3477

Championship Standings

1 Jamie Whincup 1545
2 Shane Van Gisbergen 1492
3 Mark Winterbottom 1470
4 Craig Lowndes 1392
5 Scott McLaughlin 1374
6 Will Davison 1335
7 Michael Caruso 1209
8 Tim Slade 1155
9 James Courtney 1149
10 Garth Tander 1048
11 Chaz Mostert 1046
12 Rick Kelly 1032
13 Todd Kelly  979
14 Fabian Coulthard  946
15 Jason Bright  942
16 Scott Pye  922
17 David Reynolds  910
18 Cameron Waters  844
19 James Moffat  726
20 Lee Holdsworth  648
21 Chris Pither  634
22 Dale Wood  622
23 Tim Blanchard  608
24 Nick Percat  591
25 Andre Heimgartner  524
26 Aaren Russell  465
27 Kurt Kostecki   30

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