Shane van Gisbergen has scored his first win of the season and Triple Eight Race Engineering’s 200th ever in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in Race 23 in Townsville.
Van Gisbergen passed pole-sitter Nick Percat for the lead in the early stages and ultimately took a victory of almost 8.4s over the Shell V-Power Racing Team’s Scott McLaughlin after 39 laps.
Jamie Whincup made it two Red Bull Holden Racing Team entries on the podium in the second race of the Robson Civil Projects Townsville SuperSprint, with Percat home in fourth in the #8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore.
As such, McLaughlin’s championship lead is a slightly increased 149 points over Whincup.
Percat led McLaughlin (#17 Mustang) to Turn 1 before van Gisbergen (#97 ZB Commodore) braked deep at Turn 2 and nabbed second position by going around the outside.
Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang) emerged fourth from the opening corners, ahead of Whincup (#88 ZB Commodore), Todd Hazelwood (#14 Black Duck ZB Commodore), and Jack Le Brocq (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang).
Van Gisbergen was sticking with Car #8 through the opening laps before making a move under brakes at Turn 13 on Lap 7, and Percat finally ceded first position on the way into Turn 1.
McLaughlin was 4.7s from the lead when he pitted from third on Lap 15 and Whincup, who had been fifth, followed him into the lane.
While both took three new tyres, Whincup closed up to McLaughlin the service and they resumed in 17th and 18th.
They were two positions apart again once Hazelwood, who had held sixth until the stops began, was in and out of the pits a lap later having had only two tyres changed.
Van Gisbergen had put 4.2s on Percat before pitting from the lead on Lap 17 and still had more than a second on McLaughlin as he got up to speed, even after Triple Eight changed all four tyres on #97, while Whincup had cleared Hazelwood.
Waters was officially second when he stopped on Lap 20 for three tyres and resumed between Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore), who qualified 13th and pitted from 14th on Lap 12, and Lee Holdsworth (#5 Truck Assist Mustang).
Percat gave up the lead again when he pitted on Lap 21 and rejoined behind Le Brocq, who was fifth of those to have served their stops at that point.
Waters picked off Mostert at Turn 11 on Lap 22 while, just ahead, Percat went up the inside of Le Brocq two corners later and completed the move at the next braking zone.
Waters soon passed Le Brocq as well, before Percat and he similarly both got Hazelwood for an effective fourth and fifth respectively on Lap 23.
As that was going on, Scott Pye (#20 DeWalt ZB Commodore) pitted from the lead and pressed on in 13th, but effectively 11th, the same position as he had qualified in.
When the CPS cycle completed on Lap 24, van Gisbergen’s advantage over McLaughlin was 2.9s and growing, while Whincup held third from Waters, Hazelwood, Le Brocq, Mostert, Holdsworth, Reynolds, and Pye.
Fabian Coulthard (#12 Shell V-Power Mustang) sat 16th, where he started, after a big battle with James Courtney (#44 Boost Mobile Mustang) during the opening stint.
Pye was past Reynolds on Lap 25 and Holdsworth on Lap 26 before he picked off Mostert for eighth as they crossed Boundary Street on Lap 27.
On the next lap, he got Le Brocq and Hazelwood, the latter of whom by then had a 15-second penalty hanging over his head for spinning his rears in his pit stop.
Meanwhile, van Gisbergen was continuing to gap McLaughlin and finished 8.3952s up on the DJR Team Penske pilot.
“Man, it feels good,” said the winner.
“The weeks we’ve had, my crew’s never given up, we’ve got a win like that and we smoked them. It was awesome.
“200 wins for Triple Eight Red Bull Holden Racing Team, what a great feeling.
“It’s going to be hard this afternoon from 12th or 14th (on the grid), wherever we are, but hopefully we can put on a show.”
Whincup circulated about two seconds back from #17 for most of the latter stages and was officially 1.8978s behind McLaughlin at the finish.
Percat, Waters, and Pye claimed fourth through sixth, while Le Brocq was first of those promoted a position due to Hazelwood’s time penalty.
The Tickford driver was therefore officially seventh, ahead of Holdsworth, Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore), and a fading Mostert.
Rick Kelly (#15 Castrol Mustang) was classified 11th and Hazelwood 14th, with Coulthard finishing 20th.
David Reynolds (#9 Penrite ZB Commodore) got home in 15th, having trailed Kelly until a concertina when #15 fanned the throttled after nudging Mostert wide, late in the piece.
Race 24 starts at 14:40 local time/AEST.
Results: Race 23, Robson Civil Projects Townsville SuperSprint
|1||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||39||49:32.7581|
|2||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||39||49:41.1533|
|3||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||39||49:43.0511|
|4||8||R&J Batteries||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||39||49:46.3254|
|5||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||39||49:47.5654|
|6||20||DEWALT Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||39||49:48.8859|
|7||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Ford Mustang GT||39||50:06.6147|
|8||5||Truck Assist Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||39||50:09.0670|
|9||18||IRWIN Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||39||50:11.1623|
|10||25||Mobil 1 Appliances Online||Chaz Mostert||Holden Commodore ZB||39||50:15.7289|
|11||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Ford Mustang GT||39||50:15.9509|
|12||2||Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing||Bryce Fullwood||Holden Commodore ZB||39||50:16.1795|
|13||44||Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Ford Mustang GT||39||50:17.1630|
|14||14||Team Black Duck||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||39||50:20.8682|
|15||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||39||50:21.0616|
|16||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||39||50:22.2391|
|17||35||Yellow Cover Racing||Garry Jacobson||Holden Commodore ZB||39||50:24.8969|
|18||3||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||39||50:25.2635|
|19||19||Local Legends Racing||Alex Davison||Holden Commodore ZB||39||50:25.4313|
|20||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||39||50:25.5098|
|21||22||Team SYDNEY||Chris Pither||Holden Commodore ZB||39||50:28.8160|
|22||4||SCT Motor Sports||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||39||50:31.0592|
|23||34||UNIT Racing||Jake Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||39||50:31.5428|
|24||7||NED Whisky Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Mustang GT||39||50:36.5110|
|5||Shane van Gisbergen||1257|
|11||Anton De Pasquale||1041|
|14||Jack Le Brocq||900|