Shane van Gisbergen defeated a determined Garth Tander to end his Supercars Championship winning season with a final victory at Sydney Olympic Park.
Tander threw everything at the Kiwi as he attempted to take a fairytale win in his final race with the Walkinshaw team, which also farewells its 26-year run under the Holden Racing Team banner.
The 39-year-old led the first 19 laps from pole before succumbing to the advances of Van Gisbergen’s Red Bull Holden.
Van Gisbergen narrowly kept the advantage during the first round of stops, avoiding a penalty despite making contact with the HRT entry as he exited his pit bay.
The second HRT Commodore of James Courtney led the middle stint after short-filling at an early first pitstop.
A clash between Cameron Waters and Fabian Coulthard brought out a Safety Car 34 laps from home, triggering the second and final stops.
Van Gisbergen emerged from the stops ahead of Tander, David Reynolds and Courtney, who by pitting just prior to the yellow ensured that his team-mate avoided pit stacking.
New champion Van Gisbergen survived two more Safety Car restarts, the second of which came with just six laps to go, before eventually taking the flag one second ahead of Tander.
Van Gisbergen did not disappoint with his much anticipated post-race celebration, performing a burnout in front of his team with the car resting nose-first against the pit wall.
“It was a tough race with Garth but I’m so stoked,” said Van Gisbergen.
“It’s a lifetime goal (to win the championship) and to finally achieve it is pretty special.
“I want to come back next year and try to win it again.”
David Reynolds held off Jamie Whincup to take a hard earned first podium with Erebus Motorsport, breaking an 18 month drought for the team.
Whincup was fourth despite starting back in 10th due to his mistake in the Top 10 Shootout and losing two places while double-stacking behind Van Gisbergen in the second stops.
Scott McLaughlin secured third in the championship with a fifth place finish ahead of Courtney, who did not have the pace of team-mate Tander.
The top 10 was completed by Tim Slade, Will Davison, Craig Lowndes and James Moffat.
A tough weekend for Prodrive ended with Chaz Mostert and Mark Winterbottom as the first of the Fords in 11th and 12th respectively.
The second Safety Car had been called shortly after the first restart as Jason Bright’s final drive with Brad Jones Racing ended with a crash into the Turn 5 concrete.
Mechanical trouble for Rick Kelly caused the third pause as the Nissan ground to a halt in the pitlane.
Today marks the last race at Sydney Olympic Park with the Supercars finale to be held at a new street circuit in Newcastle next November.
Result: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Coates Hire Sydney 500 Race 29
|1||Red Bull Racing Australia||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||73||01:59:59.1235|
|2||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||73||02:00:00.1481|
|3||Erebus Motorsport Penrite||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||73||02:00:01.5093|
|4||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||73||02:00:01.9157|
|5||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||73||02:00:03.3873|
|6||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||73||02:00:03.8549|
|7||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||73||02:00:05.4697|
|8||Team Darrell Lea STIX||Will Davison||Holden Commodore VF||73||02:00:08.5597|
|9||TeamVortex||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||73||02:00:08.9072|
|10||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Moffat||Volvo S60||73||02:00:09.1436|
|11||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||73||02:00:09.5557|
|12||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||73||02:00:09.9182|
|13||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG/X||73||02:00:10.3850|
|14||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||73||02:00:11.3670|
|15||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||73||02:00:12.3930|
|16||Repair Management Aust Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||73||02:00:13.9759|
|17||Erebus Motorsport||Shae Davies||Holden Commodore VF||73||02:00:20.9326|
|18||Super Black Racing||Chris Pither||Ford Falcon FG/X||72||02:00:18.9703|
|19||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||72||02:01:30.8920|
|20||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Holden Commodore VF||71||02:00:20.3115|
|21||DJR Team Penske||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||60||02:00:47.1146|
|DNF||Sengled Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||64||01:45:03.7812|
|DNF||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||46||01:14:37.9418|
|DNF||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||39||01:00:13.1898|
|DNF||GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Nissan Altima||7||20:03.3871|
|DNF||Team Cooldrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||1||1:49.3946|
|1||Shane van Gisbergen||3368|
|46||Jack Le Brocq||303|
|49||Chris van der Drift||234|
|53||Simona de Silvestro||126|