Van Gisbergen wins topsy-turvy Race 29 in Triple Eight one-two
Saturday 20th November, 2021 - 9:27pm
Shane van Gisbergen has led Jamie Whincup to a Red Bull Ampol Racing one-two in an astonishing Race 29 of the Repco Supercars Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park.
After seeing their advantage from starting on super softs dashed due to an early Safety Car, Whincup emerged in seventh position and van Gisbergen ninth once the second pit stop cycle was completed with 19 laps to go.
However, reusing those super softs, they cut a swathe through those in front, including a couple who were able to finish on new super softs, to take a memorable victory in the opening 250km encounter at the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight.
Long-time leader Cameron Waters completed the podium in Tickford Racing’s #6 Monster Energy Mustang after being passed by van Gisbergen on Lap 62 of 64, with the Shell V-Power Racing Team’s Anton De Pasquale fourth.
Only five drivers started on the super softs, those in the top 10 on the grid being Whincup (#88 ZB Commodore) in second, van Gisbergen (#97 ZB Commodore) in fourth, and Scott Pye (#20 DeWalt ZB Commodore) in 10th.
As expected, Whincup helped himself to a clear lead to the first corner, ahead of pole-sitter De Pasquale (#11 Mustang), Will Davison (#17 Shell V-Power Mustang), van Gisbergen, and Todd Hazelwood (#14 Cub Cadet ZB Commodore).
Van Gisbergen picked off Davison at Turn 4 on Lap 1 and De Pasquale at the same spot on Lap 2, at which point Whincup was two seconds up the road.
However, Whincup appeared to be going harder than his team-mate was on the super soft rubber, moving his lead past four seconds on Lap 5.
The gap was almost five seconds when a Safety Car was called on Lap 7 due to Macauley Jones (#96 Coca-Cola ZB Commodore) stopping with an engine failure.
By that point, Pye had climbed to third and fellow super soft runner Zane Goddard (#35 Yellow Cover ZB Commodore) had just passed De Pasquale for fourth.
The yellows prompted all to pit and van Gisbergen was among those who had to stack, despite his best efforts to give himself more room behind Car #88 on their way into the lane.
He and Whincup had both seen the benefit of starting on super softs seemingly largely wasted, but Whincup still held the lead as the field lined up behind the Safety Car after taking service.
Pye sat second, from De Pasquale, Goddard, another who had switched from super softs to hards in David Reynolds (#26 Penrite Mustang), and Brodie Kostecki (#99 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore), with van Gisbergen ninth.
The highest in the order who had gone onto super softs were Waters in eighth and his team-mate Jack Le Brocq (#5 Truck Assist Mustang) in 10th.
A restart came on Lap 10 and, predictably, Cars #6 and #5 were among those on the rise.
Waters was fourth by the end of Lap 10, passed both De Pasquale and then Pye on Lap 11, and went down the inside of Whincup to lead the race on Lap 12 at Bond Bend (Turn 2).
Le Brocq overtook Whincup just as they completed Lap 13, at which time Waters was about 3.5s up the road.
Will Brown (#9 Shaw And Partners ZB Commodore), who was on the same strategy as #6 and #5, passed Whincup on Lap 14, and James Courtney (#44 Boost Mobile Mustang) would likewise soon take up fourth position.
Whincup and Pye were next in the order, while Brodie Kostecki had barged past De Pasquale at Turn 8 in a genuine battle for seventh on the road between two drivers who had started with two hard stints.
Van Gisbergen had lost his berth in the top 10 due to those who took the restart from behind him on super softs, but was back in when he passed Goddard at Turn 05 on Lap 17.
He got by De Pasquale for ninth at Turn 05 on Lap 22, and they would both overtake Bryce Fullwood (#2 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore) in coming laps, with the Walkinshaw Andretti United driver on the slide again due to his super softs wearing out.
Le Brocq was also starting to want for super soft tyre life, and was passed by Brown at the end of Lap 29.
Therefore, with the second pit stop cycle about to start, Waters led Brown by seven seconds, with Le Brocq third from Courtney, Whincup, Pye, Brodie Kostecki, van Gisbergen, De Pasquale, and Mostert in 10th.
Van Gisbergen found a way through on Brodie Kostecki at the end of Lap 31 to take over seventh position.
Le Brocq pitted on Lap 33 to discard his super softs and Waters, having seen his advantage over Brown drop under three seconds, likewise peeled off from the lead on Lap 34.
It was a close call for the Tickford driver to file into the lane with Fullwood coming past, but he safely made it and got onto a set of hards for the last 30 laps.
Van Gisbergen passed Pye on the road on Lap 35, the same lap that Courtney stopped to exchange super softs for hards.
Brodie Kostecki followed him into the lane to swap hards for super softs, as his Erebus team-mate Brown continued to circulate in the lead and demonstrate how much life could be extracted from that rubber compound.
De Pasquale and Mostert were into their respective boxes on Lap 36 to take super softs for their third stints, then Brown finally pitted on Lap 38, 31 laps after his second stop (including two under Safety Car), to get rid of his super softs.
He rejoined an official 10th position, one spot and several seconds behind Waters, but still ahead of Le Brocq, leaving Whincup in the lead.
Meanwhile, Mostert muscled past De Pasquale on Lap 42 at Bond Bend in a battle for approximately fifth position, in effective terms.
At this point, the top three of Whincup, van Gisbergen, and Pye represented three drivers who had started on super softs but got barely more than six laps at racing speed out of them before the early Safety Car.
What was also notable was that, with about 20 laps to go, they could put those super softs back on and still not have had to drive on them as long as the likes of Brown had.
With that, Pye pitted on Lap 42 to go back onto those white-walled tyres, and van Gisbergen did the same on Lap 43, rejoining behind De Pasquale.
When Whincup pitted a lap later again to reuse super softs, he merged between Mostert and De Pasquale, before Goddard completed the cycle with his second stop of the night on Lap 45.
At that point, Waters (H) was 8.1s up on Brown (H), with Le Brocq (H) third from Brodie Kostecki (SS), Courtney (H), Mostert (SS), Whincup (used SS), De Pasquale (SS), van Gisbergen (used SS), and Pye (used SS) in 10th.
Aside from the intrigue of who was on what tyres, and in what condition, light rain had also started to fall over Eastern Creek for the final stint.
Mostert passed Courtney for fifth on Lap 47 at Turn 9, and Whincup soon also got by the #44 Mustang.
Van Gisbergen went down the inside of De Pasquale on Lap 48 at Bond Bend, and had also overtaken Courtney before that lap was done.
The championship leader quickly caught up to Whincup and there was no obvious resistance when van Gisbergen went for a dive at Turn 4 on Lap 49, putting Car #97 into sixth.
As that was going on, Brown brought Waters leads down to 4.0s after Lap 53, and Brodie Kostecki picked off Le Brocq at Turn 4 on Lap 55.
The gap from first to second was just 1.1s at the end of Lap 57, by which time Mostert was also past Le Brocq to put his #25 ZB Commodore into fourth position.
When Brodie Kostecki was well wide through Moffat Corner on Lap 59, Mostert capitalised by firing his car down the inside under brakes at Turn 2, putting himself into the podium positions.
As Le Brocq continued to drop down the order, van Gisbergen was becoming a threat, out-dragging Brodie Kostecki to go into fourth at the end of Lap 59.
Waters’ lead over Brown was starting to stabilise at just under a second when van Gisbergen also slipped past Mostert on the run into the final complex of corner on Lap 60, meaning he was third with just four laps to go.
He rounded up Brown at Turn 3 on Lap 62, then drove on past Waters on the run to Turn 9 thanks to his grip advantage.
Whincup was also ranging up on the podium at that point, taking third spot from Brown at Turn 2 on Lap 63, then second position from Waters just four corners later.
That sealed the top three, while the hard tyre-shod Brown came under further attack from two drivers on super softs, in Mostert and De Pasquale.
They both got him on Lap 63, then De Pasquale swept down the inside of Mostert at Corporate Hill on the 64th and final lap.
Mostert therefore finished fifth and Pye put a final-lap move on Brown to take sixth, consigning Car #9 to seventh when a win seemed a distinct possibility just a few minutes earlier.
Brodie Kostecki, Davison, and Nick Percat (#8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore) rounded out the top 10 despite the latter incurring a five-second time penalty for a driving infringement.
Jones ended up being the only DNF, with all other 23 drivers completing the full 64 laps.
Van Gisbergen’s championship lead is now 349 points, while Triple Eight has unofficially wrapped up the teams’ championship with an event-and-a-half to spare.
Qualifying for Race 30 starts tomorrow at 10:55 local time/AEDT.
Results: Race 29, Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight
|1||97||Red Bull Ampol Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB|
|2||88||Red Bull Ampol Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||+1.110|
|3||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||+5.179|
|4||11||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Anton De Pasquale||Ford Mustang GT||+5.570|
|5||25||Mobil 1 Appliances Online||Chaz Mostert||Holden Commodore ZB||+6.076|
|6||20||DEWALT Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||+6.203|
|7||9||Erebus Motorsport||William Brown||Holden Commodore ZB||+7.609|
|8||99||Erebus Boost Mobile Racing||Brodie Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||+8.879|
|9||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||+10.961|
|10||8||R&J Batteries||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||+13.152|
|11||5||Truck Assist Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Ford Mustang GT||+15.677|
|12||18||IRWIN Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||+18.575|
|13||3||CoolDrive Racing||Tim Slade||Ford Mustang GT||+21.852|
|14||14||Dunlop Super Dealer Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||+25.734|
|15||7||NED Whisky Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Mustang GT||+26.246|
|16||4||SCT Logistics||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||+28.284|
|17||26||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Ford Mustang GT||+30.804|
|18||34||UNIT Racing||Jake Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||+33.065|
|19||35||Yellow Cover Racing||Zane Goddard||Holden Commodore ZB||+34.744|
|20||44||Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Ford Mustang GT||+41.536|
|21||19||Local Legends||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore ZB||+1:12.972|
|22||22||PremiAir Hire||Garry Jacobson||Holden Commodore ZB||+1:13.521|
|23||2||Mobil 1 Middy’s Racing||Bryce Fullwood||Holden Commodore ZB||+1:26.135|
|NC||96||Coca-Cola Racing||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB|
|1||Shane van Gisbergen||2828|
|6||Anton De Pasquale||2075|
|16||Jack Le Brocq||1366|
|1||88||97||Triple Eight Race Engineering||5307|
|2||11||17||(100)||Dick Johnson Racing||4308|
|4||2||25||Walkinshaw Andretti United||3463|
|6||8||14||Brad Jones Racing||3137|
|8||7||26||Kelly Grove Racing||2674|
|9||34||35||Matt Stone Racing||2113|
|10||4||96||Brad Jones Racing||1767|
|12||3||Blanchard Racing Team||1459|
|15||27||Walkinshaw Andretti United||302|