Shane van Gisbergen has seen off a late challenge from Scott McLaughlin to win Race 20 of the Supercars Championship at the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint.
The #97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team ZB Commodore led the field into the opening corner but lost track position in the first pit stop cycle before emerging in front again for the run to the chequered flag, during which McLaughlin closed up.
The championship leader ended up 2.3513s further back in the #17 Shell V-Power FGX Falcon and Chaz Mostert bagged his first podium of the campaign after just holding off Jamie Whincup in the final laps.
Van Gisbergen started on the outside the front row but made another impressive start to take a clear lead to Turn 1, from McLaughlin, Mostert, and Fabian Coulthard.
McLaughlin kept with Car #97 for several laps but drifted to nearly a second back by the time he and Mostert pitted at the end of Lap 10.
Coulthard came into the lane two laps later in the second DJR Team Penske Ford.
Car #17 gained time with the undercut before van Gisbergen took his first compulsory pit stop a full 10 laps later, during which time he also took on approximately 18 extra litres for his first fill.
The former race leader resumed behind McLaughlin, Mostert, and Coulthard, which became the top four once Kurt Kostecki completed the cycle at the end of Lap 23.
Van Gisbergen passed Coulthard a lap later at Turn 6 after the DJRTP man put his blinker on and stayed wide of the Triple Eight Holden.
Mostert similarly signalled for the Kiwi to go ahead when he fanned the throttle of his Tickford Ford on the run to Turn 4 on Lap 32.
At that stage, the margin between McLaughlin and van Gisbergen was around three seconds and falling, putting the latter in the effective race lead once the mandated 120 litre fuel drop had been met.
Mostert pitted a second time on Lap 34 and McLaughlin on Lap 35, before van Gisbergen came in on Lap 37.
He resumed around 1.5s ahead of McLaughlin, as expected, but the championship leader started to close in.
Car #17 had just about caught Car #97 with 14 of 69 laps remaining before van Gisbergen responded and drove away with the race again.
“I got off the line again, awesome, (and had) a good battle with Scotty,” said van Gisbergen.
“He got up to me at the end, but what a day. The car was awesome.
“(DJRTP) are on top of their game, but I’m enjoying the fight.”
The result reverses out the effect of McLaughlin’s win and van Gisbergen’s runner-up finish a day earlier, restoring the former’s points lead to 131, but consolidates their status as the two key title contenders.
“Overall a pretty good weekend,” said McLaughlin.
“Congratulations to Shane; too good.”
Mostert had to face the threat of a charging Whincup in the final few laps and the contest for the final podium position came down to the very end, when only 0.1102s split them at the chequered flag.
Whincup was sixth through the first stint but dropped into the midfield having been among the last of the front-runners to pit on Lap 21, when he took on 83 litres of fuel.
The #1 Triple Eight ZB Commodore emerged in fourth position when the order cleansed after the second set of pit stops, having jumped Coulthard in the pits.
Coulthard finished fifth ahead of another fast finisher in Freightliner Racing’s Tim Slade (#8 ZB Commodore).
David Reynolds (#9 Penrite ZB Commodore), Craig Lowndes (#888 Autobarn ZB Commodore), Rick Kelly (#15 Castrol Nissan Altima), and Jack Le Brocq (#19 Tekno Autosports ZB Commodore) rounded out the top 10.
Garth Tander started and finished 11th for the second day in a row in the #33 Wilson Security ZB Commodore, ahead of Milwaukee Racing’s Will Davison (#120 FGX Falcon).
Kostecki was 23rd in the #42 Kostecki Brothers Racing VF Commodore, the second-last car on the lead lap.
Nick Percat finished a lap down after an early off in the #8 Brad Jones Racing ZB Commodore, with stewards determining no further action to be taken after investigating an incident between he and Anton De Pasquale (#99 Erebus Motorsport ZB Commodore).
Mark Winterbottom (#5 The Bottle-O FGX Falcon) was the final finisher, four laps down, after being taken out by James Courtney (#25 ZB Commodore) at Turn 4 on Lap 1.
The matter will go to a post-race investigation given that Courtney, who was ultimately a DNF as a consequence, got a touch from Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing team-mate Scott Pye (#2 ZB Commodore) which set off the clash.
The Red Rooster Sydney SuperNight 300 is next on the calendar on August 3-4.
Results: Race 20, Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint Updated
|1||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||65||1:18:33.4918|
|2||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||65||1:18:35.8431|
|3||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||65||1:18:38.9091|
|4||1||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||65||1:18:39.0193|
|5||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||65||1:18:40.4991|
|6||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||65||1:18:40.9142|
|7||9||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||65||1:18:41.4163|
|8||888||Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||65||1:18:49.5635|
|9||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||65||1:18:57.4363|
|10||19||Tekno Autosports||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||65||1:18:57.9806|
|11||33||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||65||1:18:59.1764|
|12||120||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||65||1:19:01.6009|
|13||23||Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||65||1:19:07.8241|
|14||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||65||1:19:08.0812|
|15||34||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||65||1:19:09.8282|
|16||99||Erebus Motorsport||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||65||1:19:10.8208|
|17||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||65||1:19:13.2985|
|18||56||RABBLE.club Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||65||1:19:16.1934|
|19||2||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||65||1:19:17.2001|
|20||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona de Silvestro||Nissan Altima||65||1:19:28.4517|
|21||18||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||65||1:19:32.7340|
|22||21||Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||65||1:19:34.9660|
|23||42||Arcoplate Racing||Kurt Kostecki||Holden Commodore VF||65||1:19:36.0272|
|24||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||65||1:19:42.2488|
|25||8||Summit Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||64||1:19:41.7108|
|26||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||61||1:19:44.9404|
|DNF||25||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||24||49:22.5248|
Drivers’ championship Updated
|2||Shane van Gisbergen||2190|
|19||Jack Le Brocq||968|
|20||Anton De Pasquale||963|
|22||Simona de Silvestro||744|