De Pasquale beats van Gisbergen after Race 26 strategy duel

Anton De Pasquale

Anton De Pasquale has overtaken Shane van Gisbergen to win Race 26 of the Repco Supercars Championship in a battle of contrasting strategies at Sydney Motorsport Park.

De Pasquale led until his compulsory pit stop but ceded track position to the championship leader when the Shell V-Power Racing Team opted to throw four fresh tyres at his #11 Mustang.

However, he got back in front of van Gisbergen almost as soon as the Red Bull Ampol Racing driver had stopped for just two tyres, and that was decisive.

In the end, De Pasquale took victory in the opening race of the BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint by a margin of 1.8912s from van Gisbergen.

Erebus Motorsport’s Will Brown secured the final podium place, despite a slow service when he too took four tyres.

“It’s the fastest way to the end,” said De Pasquale of his strategy.

“We were pole, leading the race, you don’t want to throw it away so we’ll take the wins where we can get them.

“We’ll find out how that works tomorrow but we’re happy with the win. If you get one of those a weekend, you’re going good.”

With Jamie Whincup finishing fourth in the other Red Bull Ampol Racing entry, van Gisbergen’s margin at the top of the standings is now out to 349 points.

Upon lights out at the start of the 32-lap contest, De Pasquale showed a clean pair of heels from pole position, while there was contact when Whincup (#88 ZB Commodore) moved across from the outside of the front row to cover second-row starter Will Davison (#17 Shell V-Power Mustang).

The hit helped van Gisbergen (#97 ZB Commodore) scythe past on the outside and slot into third, while Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore) took up fifth, behind Davison.

The rest of the top 10 at the end of the standing lap was Brown (#9 Shaw and Partners ZB Commodore) in sixth, from Brodie Kostecki (#99 Boost Mobile Mustang), Nick Percat (#8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore), Todd Hazelwood (#14 Cub Cadet ZB Commodore), and Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang).

De Pasquale gradually crept away in the opening stages, and had pulled a gap of more than two seconds when Whincup appeared to let his Triple Eight Race Engineering team-mate van Gisbergen through on Lap 8 at Bond Bend (Turn 2).

Meanwhile, Mostert had been tailing Davison, and that remained the case even when they filed into pit lane together on Lap 10, each for a fresh set of working side tyres.

Mostert was slightly slow from the drop and Waters, who pitted five laps earlier from 10th position, was able to split them upon rejoin.

Whincup had drifted to about 1.8s when he stopped on Lap 11 for working side tyres, before Mostert muscled his way past Waters at Bond Bend on Lap 12 in the effective battle for fifth.

De Pasquale was 3.1s to the good when he pitted on Lap 16, with Dick Johnson Racing opting to put four fresh tyres onto the #11 Mustang.

He resumed between Whincup and Davison but was able to clear the former as soon as they went through Turn 9 on his out lap.

Triple Eight called van Gisbergen into the lane next time around and he was similarly able to exit the pits ahead of Car #11, given he only took working side tyres.

However, De Pasquale was quickly sweating on Car #97 and pulled off a carbon copy of a move on Lap 18, by getting a better run off the Turn 8 hairpin and then driving down the inside at the left-hander which followed.

That only put the DJR pilot into the effective race lead, but it was officially his next time around when Bryce Fullwood (#2 Mobil 1 Middy’s ZB Commodore), who had not yet pitted, stopped on-track as the end result of an early-race alternator failure.

That triggered a Safety Car, at which time the order, on merit with pit stops done, was De Pasquale from van Gisbergen, Whincup, Davison, Mostert, Waters, Hazelwood, Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore), Jack Le Brocq (#5 Truck Assist Mustang), and Brodie Kostecki.

Brown was only 12th at that point, after the Erebus crew took a second go at tightening the left-front during his compulsory pit stop.

When the race restarted on Lap 22, De Pasquale set the fastest lap to bolt a full 1.8s clear of van Gisbergen after just the one, 3.91km tour of Sydney Motorsport Park.

Behind him, there was a messy scrap over sixth through 10th which saw Waters turned into the wall by Tickford Racing team-mate Le Brocq after nose-to-tail contact from Hazelwood had pushed his #6 Mustang wide off the Turn 8 hairpin.

Waters managed to drive back to the pits while Le Brocq would be issued a drive-through penalty for his part in the incident.

Brodie Kostecki had risen to fifth amid all of that, before he lunged down the inside of Davison at Turn 5 on Lap 25.

Brown soon also cleared the #17 Mustang and the Erebus duo went after Whincup, who was still running third.

Kostecki caught Car #88 on Lap 27 but when he could not find a way by, he moved aside and let Brown have a crack instead.

The man in Car #9 was able to profit, slicing down the inside of Whincup on Lap 30 at Turn 6.

De Pasquale, meanwhile, continued to circulate around two seconds in front of van Gisbergen, and not only took victory but also the five bonus points for the fastest lap.

Van Gisbergen greeted the chequered flag about 1.5s up on Brown, while Whincup held on for fourth and Brodie Kostecki was therefore fifth all-told.

Scott Pye (#20 DeWalt ZB Commodore) finished sixth, ahead of Davison, Zane Goddard (#35 Yellow Cover ZB Commodore), Tim Slade (#3 CoolDrive Mustang), and Andre Heimgartner (#7 Ned Mustang).

Mostert ended up 11th, from Hazelwood and Winterbottom, with Le Brocq the last car on the lead lap in 20th.

The latter was the best of the Tickford trio, with James Courtney (#44 Boost Mobile Mustang) 21st after being turned around exiting the first corner of the race and Waters salvaging 22nd.

Pye and Slade were investigated over a Lap 1 incident that saw Courtney spin, but ‘no further action’ was the decision from officials.

Percat was a classified finisher at seven laps down after a suspected broken bolt in the front suspension of Car #8 and a drive-through for an unsafe release at a later pit stop, while Fullwood was the only DNF.

There will be a post-race investigation into Luke Youlden (#26 Penrite Mustang) and Jack Smith (#4 SCT Logistics ZB Commodore), following the latter’s spin after the Safety Car period.

Qualifying for Race 27 and Qualifying for Race 28 take place tomorrow from 11:45 local time/AEDT.

Results: Race 26, BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Diff
1 11 Shell V-Power Racing Team Anton De Pasquale Ford Mustang GT
2 97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Team Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB +1.8912
3 9 Erebus Motorsport William Brown Holden Commodore ZB +3.4249
4 88 Red Bull Ampol Racing Team Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB +5.4841
5 99 Erebus Boost Mobile Racing Brodie Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB +6.1750
6 20 DEWALT Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB +11.6059
7 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Will Davison Ford Mustang GT +13.1418
8 35 Yellow Cover Racing Zane Goddard Holden Commodore ZB +13.9059
9 3 CoolDrive Racing Tim Slade Ford Mustang GT +14.0620
10 7 NED Whisky Racing Andre Heimgartner Ford Mustang GT +14.6144
11 25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online Chaz Mostert Holden Commodore ZB +18.2214
12 14 Dunlop Super Dealer Racing Todd Hazelwood Holden Commodore ZB +20.8466
13 18 IRWIN Racing Mark Winterbottom Holden Commodore ZB +22.1927
14 96 Coca-Cola Racing Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB +22.6457
15 22 PremiAir Hire Garry Jacobson Holden Commodore ZB +22.8814
16 19 Local Legends Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore ZB +26.0695
17 34 UNIT Racing Jake Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB +26.2236
18 4 SCT Logistics Jack Smith Holden Commodore ZB +28.8502
19 5 Truck Assist Racing Jack Le Brocq Ford Mustang GT +40.2683
20 26 Penrite Racing Luke Youlden Ford Mustang GT +41.6747
21 44 Boost Mobile Racing James Courtney Ford Mustang GT +1 lap
22 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT +3 laps
23 8 R&J Batteries Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB +7 laps
NC 2 Mobil 1 Middy’s Racing Bryce Fullwood Holden Commodore ZB

Fastest lap (bonus): Anton De Pasquale, 1:31.6074s, Lap 22

Note: 15-second post-race penalty applied to Car #26

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Pts
1 Shane van Gisbergen 2506
2 Jamie Whincup 2157
3 Will Davison 2029
4 Chaz Mostert 1943
5 Cameron Waters 1860
6 Anton De Pasquale 1794
7 Nick Percat 1582
8 William Brown 1492
9 Mark Winterbottom 1442
10 Brodie Kostecki 1336
11 James Courtney 1334
12 Tim Slade 1328
13 Andre Heimgartner 1274
14 Scott Pye 1273
15 Todd Hazelwood 1238
16 Jack Le Brocq 1200
17 Bryce Fullwood 1139
18 David Reynolds 1072
19 Zane Goddard 956
20 Jake Kostecki 910
21 Jack Smith 804
22 Garry Jacobson 782
23 Macauley Jones 776
24 Fabian Coulthard 736
25 Thomas Randle 364
26 Kurt Kostecki 302
27 Luke Youlden 136

Teams’ championship

Pos Car(s) Team Pts
1 88 97 Triple Eight Race Engineering 4663
2 11 17 (100) Dick Johnson Racing 3823
3 6 44 Tickford Racing 3194
4 2 25 Walkinshaw Andretti United 3082
5 9 99 Erebus Motorsport 2828
6 8 14 Brad Jones Racing 2734
7 18 20 Team 18 2690
8 7 26 Kelly Grove Racing 2452
9 34 35 Matt Stone Racing 1866
10 4 96 Brad Jones Racing 1580
11 19 22 Team Sydney 1518
12 3 Blanchard Racing Team 1328
13 5 Tickford Racing 1200
14 55 Tickford Racing 364
15 27 Walkinshaw Andretti United 302

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