Van Gisbergen runs down Whincup in Race 15 at Townsville

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen has overhauled team-mate Jamie Whincup to take victory as Red Bull Ampol Racing dominated Race 15 of the Repco Supercars Championship at the NTI Townsville 500.

Whincup had got the jump on van Gisbergen from the outside of the front row and effectively led for just shy of 70 laps, but did not quite have enough to close out the deal.

The Shell V-Power Racing Team’s Anton De Pasquale finished on the podium but was 37.4532s behind the #97 ZB Commodore at the chequered flag and 30.0851s adrift of #88.

Nick Percat (#8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore) took fourth while David Reynolds (#26 Penrite Mustang) inherited fifth after Will Davison had to pit a third time to make the mandated fuel fill.

Tim Slade (#3 CoolDrive Mustang) got home in sixth, ahead of James Courtney (#44 Boost Mobile Mustang), Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang), Davison (#17 Shell V-Power Mustang), and Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore).

Van Gisbergen’s championship lead is now 233 points, with Whincup continuing to hold second in the standings.

“I’m pretty wrecked,” said the man who has now won the last three races of the season.

“I’ll get fixed up and go again tomorrow. That was real physical but thanks to Red Bull Ampol Racing; our cars were awesome so it’s super cool.”

On chasing Whincup, van Gisbergen said, “It was good fun. I knew I had one shot to do it before the tyres cooked and did it, so, real cool.”

Drama transpired before the lights went out when Fabian Coulthard’s #19 Local Legends ZB Commodore had to be towed off the grid.

The field was sent for an extra formation lap, and one was taken off the 88 laps allocated to the race itself, while Coulthard was able to drive back around to pit exit with a new battery.

Whincup grabbed the lead when hostilities eventually got underway, as van Gisbergen dropped from pole to second.

Courtney nabbed third from the two Dick Johnson Racing cars at Turn 2, with De Pasquale slotting into fourth.

Davison ceded another spot when Percat went down his inside to take fifth at Turn 3, and Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore) climbed from 17th on the grid to 13th on Lap 1.

Reynolds passed Davison for sixth on Lap 3 at Turn 11, while Whincup moved his lead beyond two seconds on Lap 11.

Scott Pye (#20 DeWalt ZB Commodore) relieved Waters of ninth position on Lap 11 at Turn 11, as Slade continued to circulate in eighth.

With 20 laps in the book, Whincup led van Gisbergen by 3.1s and Courtney by 10.2s, the latter beginning to want for pace.

Courtney was passed by De Pasquale on Lap 22 and by Percat on Lap 26, then pitted on Lap 27 and was undercut by Reynolds, who had stopped two laps prior.

Whincup got as far as 5.2s clear of van Gisbergen before he lost time as Brodie Kostecki (#99 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore), who pitted earlier, unlapped himself.

Around three seconds separated the front-running Triple Eight Racing Engineering cars when Whincup took service on Lap 29 and was followed into the lane by De Pasquale and Percat.

The latter lost a spot on his out lap when Reynolds swept around the outside at Turn 2, but got it back less than three laps later at Turn 13.

Van Gisbergen went all the way to Lap 33 before taking his initial service and was passed by De Pasquale as he exited the pits.

That made for a running order of Whincup, De Pasquale, van Gisbergen, Percat, Reynolds, Courtney, and Davison, the latter of whom had pitted on Lap 28.

Mostert, who had been in battles just outside the top 10 before a relatively early stop, was eighth, from Pye and Brodie Kostecki, with Waters in 16th.

Van Gisbergen went underneath De Pasquale at Turn 13 on Lap 35, at which point Whincup led by 11.9s.

However, tyre life and fuel fill was in #97’s favour, and the New Zealander set about chipping away at his team-mate’s advantage.

It was down to 3.1s at the end of Lap 55, perilously close to what was believed to be the discrepancy in dwell time which awaited them during the second pit stop cycle, and just 2.0s after two laps more.

Whincup pitted on Lap 58 and, back with fresher tyres relative to his team-mate, was able to stretch the elastic band again.

Van Gisbergen ran six laps longer and, when he resumed after that second stop, trailed Whincup by more than three seconds.

The rest of the top 10 for the run home was De Pasquale, Percat, Reynolds, Davison, Slade, Courtney, Bryce Fullwood (#2 Mobil 1 Middy’s ZB Commodore), and Winterbottom, with Waters 13th and Mostert 15th.

Whincup briefly got over four seconds ahead of van Gisbergen on the latter’s out lap but the tide turned even quicker than it had done before.

The gap was 3.1s after Lap 66, 2.2s after Lap 67, 1.5s after Lap 68, and 0.6s after Lap 69.

On Lap 70, #97 made a dive at Turn 11 and while there was a nervous moment when the rears locked, they avoided contact and van Gisbergen went on his way.

He gapped Whincup by more than a second in the next 2.86km, and two more seconds in the following five laps.

That was effectively the battle for the first handful of positions over, van Gisbergen winning by an official margin of 7.3681s, but there was still intrigue further back.

Davison pitted from fifth with three laps to go having been just short of the compulsory fuel drop, handing the position back to Reynolds having passed him on Lap 68.

The DJR driver resumed after his third tour through the lane in eighth position, but also lost that when Waters went down his inside at Turn 2 on his out lap.

Reynolds, meanwhile, still had a task on his hands with Slade applying pressure, but the Kelly Grove Racing driver held firm to finish fifth.

Mostert ended up 14th, still enough to retain third in the championship, while Pye came to grief at Turn 8 on Lap 54 and finished 10 laps down in 23rd after repairs.

The next session is Qualifying for Race 16, tomorrow from 10:10 local time/AEST, then a Top 10 Shootout in the early afternoon.

Results: Race 15, NTI Townsville 500

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Laps Race time
1 97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Team Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 87 1:50:10.1109
2 88 Red Bull Ampol Racing Team Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 87 1:50:17.4790
3 11 Shell V-Power Racing Team Anton De Pasquale Ford Mustang GT 87 1:50:47.5641
4 8 R&J Batteries Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 87 1:50:58.9901
5 26 Penrite Racing David Reynolds Ford Mustang GT 87 1:51:01.4655
6 3 CoolDrive Racing Tim Slade Ford Mustang GT 87 1:51:02.0978
7 44 Boost Mobile Racing James Courtney Ford Mustang GT 87 1:51:10.3243
8 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT 86 1:50:13.7997
9 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Will Davison Ford Mustang GT 86 1:50:14.4671
10 18 IRWIN Racing Mark Winterbottom Holden Commodore ZB 86 1:50:24.7551
11 2 Mobil 1 Middy’s Racing Bryce Fullwood Holden Commodore ZB 86 1:50:27.9329
12 7 NED Whisky Racing Andre Heimgartner Ford Mustang GT 86 1:50:28.4960
13 99 Erebus Boost Mobile Racing Brodie Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 86 1:50:35.4461
14 25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online Chaz Mostert Holden Commodore ZB 86 1:50:36.9982
15 5 Truck Assist Racing Jack Le Brocq Ford Mustang GT 86 1:50:38.1094
16 96 Coca-Cola Racing Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB 86 1:50:38.8280
17 4 SCT Logistics Jack Smith Holden Commodore ZB 86 1:50:46.9181
18 9 Erebus Pedders Racing William Brown Holden Commodore ZB 86 1:50:50.2776
19 34 UNIT Racing Jake Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 86 1:50:55.1751
20 22 Team SYDNEY Garry Jacobson Holden Commodore ZB 86 1:50:59.4128
21 19 Local Legends Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore ZB 85 1:50:51.0697
22 14 Pizza Hut Todd Hazelwood Holden Commodore ZB 79 1:50:46.7200
23 20 DEWALT Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 77 1:50:52.9384
24 35 Yellow Cover Racing Zane Goddard Holden Commodore ZB 76 1:51:22.1548

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Pts
1 Shane van Gisbergen 1511
2 Jamie Whincup 1278
3 Chaz Mostert 1194
4 Will Davison 1171
5 Cameron Waters 1154
6 Nick Percat 947
7 Mark Winterbottom 939
8 Anton De Pasquale 891
9 James Courtney 840
10 Brodie Kostecki 803
11 William Brown 792
12 Andre Heimgartner 791
13 David Reynolds 755
14 Bryce Fullwood 735
15 Scott Pye 726
16 Jack Le Brocq 694
17 Tim Slade 664
18 Todd Hazelwood 620
19 Jake Kostecki 596
20 Zane Goddard 565
21 Fabian Coulthard 458
22 Jack Smith 436
23 Macauley Jones 435
24 Garry Jacobson 398
25 Thomas Randle 260
26 Kurt Kostecki 222

Teams’ championship

Pos Car(s) Team Pts
1 88 97   Triple Eight Race Engineering 2789
2 11 17 (100) Dick Johnson Racing 2062
3 6 44   Tickford Racing 1994
4 2 25   Walkinshaw Andretti United 1929
5 18 20   Team 18 1640
6 9 99   Erebus Motorsport 1595
7 7 26   Kelly Grove Racing 1516
8 8 14   Brad Jones Racing 1481
9 34 35   Matt Stone Racing 1161
10 4 96   Brad Jones Racing 871
11 19 22   Team Sydney 856
12 5     Tickford Racing 694
13 3     Blanchard Racing Team 664
14 55     Tickford Racing 260
15 27     Walkinshaw Andretti United 222

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