Van Gisbergen wins, double Grove podium in Race 7

Shane van Gisbergen extended his championship points lead with victory in Race 7. Picture: Ross Gibb

Red Bull Ampol Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen has won Race 7 at the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 in what was another chaotic affair.

Punctuated by two Safety Car interventions, the Repco Supercars Championship points leader ran relatively untroubled by nearest rival David Reynolds for the 19-lap distance.

By the conclusion of an already frenetic encounter, the race reached a dramatic climax on the last lap.

At the death, James Courtney and Chaz Mostert came to blows at the final corner while battling for third, resulting in the #500 Ford Mustang spinning into the outside wall.

Mostert would cross the line fourth in the #25 Holden ZB Commodore, but was subsequently penalised for the contact and was classified 22nd in the end.

Courtney, meanwhile, would flick spin his car and take the chequered flag in 10th, but was duly promoted to ninth with Mostert’s penalty.

Other noteworthy performances included Scott Pye in fourth, Todd Hazelwood in fifth and Garry Jacobson a standout sixth.

After the Race 6 tyre compound chaos, just five drivers elected to start on hard compound tyres.

They included Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Racing) in 13th, Bryce Fullwood (#14 Middy’s Racing) from 17th, Macauley Jones (#96 and Tim Slade (#3 CoolDrive Racing) in 19th and 20th, as well as Thomas Randle (#55 Castrol Racing) in 23rd.

Off the line, Reynolds (#26 Penrite Racing) bogged down and ceded second place to van Gisbergen (#97 Red Bull Ampol Racing) while pole-sitter Will Davison (#17 Shell V-Power Racing Team) got the holeshot into Turn 1.

At the end of Lap 1, it was Davison from van Gisbergen, Reynolds, Anton De Pasquale (#11 Shell V-Power Racing Team), Brodie Kostecki (#99 Boost Mobile), Courtney, Broc Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol Racing), Todd Hazelwood (#35 Truck Assist Racing), Mostert, and Nick Percat (#2 Mobil 1 NTI Racing).

Come Lap 2, van Gisbergen began pressuring Davison for the lead. On the run to Turn 3, the Kiwi showed his nose under brakes. Davison duly covered, compromising his line into Turn 4.

With the criss-cross, van Gisbergen got to Davison’s outside at Turn 5, once again, compromising Davison’s line and giving the points leader a run to Turn 6 where he completed the pass.

Van Gisbergen put half a second on Davison by the end of Lap 2, leaving the Dick Johnson Racing driver to fend off Reynolds.

The latter was the first to blink, pitting on Lap 4 to get off the soft tyre. He was duly followed by Brodie Kostecki and Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Racing).

Drama struck on Lap 5 when Will Brown (#9 Boost Mobile) and Andre Heimgartner (#8 R&J Batteries Racing) got together out of the penultimate corner.

Heimgartner’s Holden ZB Commodore made heavy contact with the wall, duly bringing out the Safety Car.

For Brown’s involvement in the incident, he copped a drive-through penalty.

A flurry of pit stops followed as those on the soft compound tyres made their way to the pit lane.

In the ensuing chaos, De Pasquale had to double-stack with Davison and then stalled as he sought to get out and going from his pit bay.

All told after the pit stop sequence, van Gisbergen retained the lead while Reynolds rose to second, Davison fell to third, and Kostecki climbed to fourth. Courtney, Mostert, Waters, Pye, Lee Holdsworth (#10 Penrite Racing), and Hazelwood completed the top 10.

Those who lost out included Feeney who fell to 12th, Percat to 13th, though worst of all was De Pasquale who was 20th.

Come Lap 8, the race resumed with van Gisbergen at the head of the field, He opted to go early as the green flag flew, putting a few car lengths on Reynolds.

Behind them, Kostecki sought to go around the outside of Davison at Turn 3, which put him on the inside at Turn 4.

Kostecki dive-bombed Davison, casting them both wide on the corner exit. That gave Courtney a free-kick, allowing the driver in his 501st race start to claim third.

Kostecki maintained fourth while Davison dropped to fifth. However, there was more hurt for the Erebus Motorsport driver who got loose out of Turn 5 and opened the door for Davison to get back through.

With dirty tyres, Kostecki understeered through Turn 6 and that allowed Mostert to poke his nose up the inside through the fast sweeping right hander.

Soon enough Kostecki was usurped by Waters, Pye, and Holdsworth.

That melee continued at the final turn, light contact with Garry Jacobson sending Kostecki wide of the apex and allowing several more through.

Soon enough, Kostecki had fallen from fourth to 15th by the close of Lap 8.

Feeney found himself in trouble at the end of Lap 8, going for a tour of the gravel trap at Turn 11. He duly pitted and fell to the tail of the field.

The drama continued on Lap 10 when Waters got into the back of Davison at Turn 3, spearing the #17 off into the gravel trap. That drew the second Safety Car of the race.

Waters would cop a drive-through penalty for the incident.

Racing resumed on Lap 13 with van Gisbergen leading Reynolds, Courtney, Mostert, Waters, Holdsworth, Pye, Hazelwood, Jacobson, and Slade.

While van Gisbergen and Reynolds skipped away, Courtney found himself under attack from Mostert. In the first instance, he held sway.

Jack Smith lunged Thomas Randle on Lap 16, forcing the Ford Mustang off the road at the penultimate corner.

Due to time certainty, the race fell one lap shy of the scheduled 20-lap distance.

While van Gisbergen was two seconds clear of Reynolds at the line, the battle between Courtney and Mostert heated up.

Mostert sought to go around the outside at the penultimate corner, Courtney casting the #25 wide.

Pinned to Courtney’s right rear corner, Mostert made contact with the preceding car and sent it into a spin.

The #500 would back into the tyre wall while Mostert carried on. Holdsworth, meanwhile, passed them both to snag third.

Untroubled in front, van Gisbergen took the chequered flag, beating Reynolds to the tune of two seconds.

Pye fell just shy of the podium in fourth while Hazelwood and Jacobson were fifth and sixth.

Brodie Kostecki recovered to seventh having been mid-pack earlier in the race. Slade was eighth, Courtney ninth, and De Pasquale 10th.

Results: Race 7

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Diff
1 97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Shane van Gisbergen Holden ZB Commodore
2 26 Penrite Racing David Reynolds Ford Mustang GT +2.0375
3 10 Penrite Racing Lee Holdsworth Ford Mustang GT +7.0899
4 20 Hino Racing Scott Pye Holden ZB Commodore +9.9748
5 35 Truck Assist Racing Todd Hazelwood Holden ZB Commodore +12.9927
6 76 PremiAir Subway Racing Garry Jacobson Holden ZB Commodore +13.4971
7 99 Boost Mobile Racing by Erebus Brodie Kostecki Holden ZB Commodore +14.4582
8 3 CoolDrive Racing Tim Slade Ford Mustang GT +14.6946
9 500 Flex Power Tools James Courtney Ford Mustang GT +15.2008
10 14 Middy’s Electrical Racing Bryce Fullwood Holden ZB Commodore +16.8638
11 96 Macauley Jones Holden ZB Commodore +16.9858
12 18 Irwin Racing Mark Winterbottom Holden ZB Commodore +19.7564
13 56 Tradie Racing Jake Kostecki Ford Mustang GT +19.7858
14 88 Red Bull Ampol Racing Broc Feeney Holden ZB Commodore +20.9667
15 34 Truck Assist Racing Jack Le Brocq Holden ZB Commodore +22.8738
16 22 PremiAir Coca-Cola Racing Chris Pither Holden ZB Commodore +24.0720
17 2 Mobil 1 NTI Racing Nick Percat Holden ZB Commodore +24.7120
18 55 Castrol Racing Thomas Randle Ford Mustang GT +25.8148
19 4 SCT Logistics Racing Jack Smith Holden ZB Commodore +25.8240
20 11 Shell V-Power Racing Team Anton De Pasquale Ford Mustang GT +31.3648
21 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT +47.5985
22 25 Mobil 1 Optus Racing Chaz Mostert Holden ZB Commodore +50.4404
23 9 Boost Mobile Racing by Erebus Will Brown Holden ZB Commodore +52.9355
24 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Will Davison Ford Mustang GT +1 lap
DNF 8 R&J Batteries Racing Andre Heimgartner Holden ZB Commodore

Fastest lap: Shane van Gisbergen (5 bonus points)

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Pts
1 Shane van Gisbergen 706
2 Anton De Pasquale 535
3 Chaz Mostert 511
4 Will Davison 484
5 Brodie Kostecki 468
6 Broc Feeney 458
7 David Reynolds 449
8 Cameron Waters 428
9 Tim Slade 411
10 Todd Hazelwood 383
11 Mark Winterbottom 374
12 Will Brown 361
13 James Courtney 358
14 Nick Percat 342
15 Lee Holdsworth 336
16 Scott Pye 328
17 Bryce Fullwood 297
18 Andre Heimgartner 287
19 Macauley Jones 270
20 Jack Smith 265
21 Chris Pither 237
22 Thomas Randle 226
23 Garry Jacobson 212
24 Jake Kostecki 206
25 Jack Le Brocq 174

Teams’ championship

Pos Car(s) Team Pts
1 88 97 Triple Eight Race Engineering 1163
2 11 17 Dick Johnson Racing 1019
3 9 99 Erebus Motorsport 829
4 2 25 Walkinshaw Andretti United 823
5 5 6 Tickford Racing 786
6 10 26 Grove Racing 785
7 18 20 Team 18 702
8 8 14 Brad Jones Racing 584
9 34 35 Matt Stone Racing 557
10 4 96 Brad Jones Racing 535
11 22 76 PremiAir Racing 449
12 55 56 Tickford Racing 432
13 3 Blanchard Racing Team 411

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