De Pasquale heads DJR one-two in Race 16

Anton De Pasquale. Picture: Shell V-Power Racing Team Facebook

Anton De Pasquale has dominated Race 16 at the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown to lead home a Shell V-Power Racing Team one-two.

For Red Bull Ampol Racing, it was a missed opportunity for Shane van Gisbergen who suffered a slow pit stop – eventually charging home late in the piece to secure third.

In his 500th race, Will Davison would defend valiantly but ultimately couldn’t convert pole position after losing the lead on Lap 1 to his team-mate.

“It’s awesome, always good to get a one-two,” said De Pasquale.

“We came pretty close down at Turn 5 but we all came out the other side, so hopefully it was good racing for everyone at home.

“We’re always trying to put on a good show here in Darwin, so yeah, awesome race.”

Off the line, it was a relatively even getaway between the Dick Johnson Racing entries. Andre Heimgartner walked his car off the line well, but Davison covered on the run down to Turn 1, leaving the R&J Batteries Racing driver with nowhere to go.

Under brakes, De Pasquale got his nose ahead of Davison and hung around the outside. The pair duly ran side-by-side through the esses, only to make wheel-to-wheel contact on the run to Turn 5. Fortunately, the pair escaped unscathed, though De Pasquale prevailed.

Macauley Jones (#96 Kubota Racing) was an early victim of the opening lap melee as he fell off the road at Turn 1.

Jake Kostecki (#56 Tradie Racing) shortcut the penultimate corner, losing out to Scott Pye (#20 Nulon Racing) and Tickford Racing team-mate Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Racing).

At the end of Lap 1, it was De Pasquale who led Davison, Heimgartner, van Gisbergen, Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Optus Racing), Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Racing), David Reynolds (#26 Penrite Racing), Bryce Fullwood (#14 Middy’s Racing), Pye, and Waters.

At the commencement of Lap 2, van Gisbergen sent smoke signals as he locked up under brakes into Turn 1 as he sought to find a way by Heimgartner.

Drama struck on Lap 2 when Jack Smith found the wall. Moments later, Brad Jones Racing would have another dose of drama: hopes of a strong finish for hometown hero Fullwood were dashed when he made contact with Reynolds at the final corner on Lap 1.

That sent the Grove Racing driver into a spin and with enough damage to force him to pit. Fullwood was subsequently given a 15-second penalty for the contact, which he served during his pit stop. In the end, he would come home 17th.

Chaos continued on Lap 3 when Brown got into the rear of Pither, the pair of them going off the road at Turn 7. Pither would suffer a puncture and missed opportunity having started 11th while Brown copped damage to his left front suspension that would rule him out of contention. Pither, in the end, was 24th.

Come Lap 10, van Gisbergen cleared Heimgartner with a pass at the hairpin to occupy the final place of the podium.

Tim Slade’s effort to usurp Garry Jacobson further afield came undone after he locked up into Turn 5 and ran wide. That saw him cede places to Lee Holdsworth (#10 Penrite Racing) and Todd Hazelwood.

Heimgartner would lose out in the pit stop sequence, dropping out of podium contention when he was undercut by Mostert who pitted on Lap 16 – two laps earlier than Heimgartner.

De Pasquale pitted on Lap 20, returning to the race ahead of team-mate Davison. That gave van Gisbergen the lead, who opted to run longer.

Come the end of Lap 23, van Gisbergen came to the lane for his stop; opting to take three tyres. Any benefit of taking the extra tyre was hindered when the left rear tyre changer struggled to get his wheel fitted. On the rejoin, van Gisbergen would come out behind Pye to sit seventh.

With the benefit of fresh rubber, the Kiwi quickly dispatched Pye and then his own team-mate Broc Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol Racing) who had made his way to fifth courtesy of a particularly early pit stop.

Thomas Randle (#55 Castrol Racing) briefly cycled his way to the lead, although he pitted soon enough to hand De Pasquale the lead to the tune of 1.7s over Davison. Third was Mostert, 3.0s adrift of the lead.

Heimgartner was a distant fourth, 5.9s away once the field was cleansed on Lap 26. Van Gisbergen was quickly within striking distance to take fourth and with 10 laps to go cleared him at Turn 5.

Lap after lap, van Gisbergen ate into the margin of the leaders. With eight tours of Hidden Valley Raceway remaining, the gap stood at 4.7s.

Come Lap 33, van Gisbergen put himself onto the podium with a pass on Mostert at Turn 6. That put Davison in van Gisbergen’s crosshairs with a little over five laps remaining.

With three laps to go, van Gisbergen got within striking distance of Davison. However, a pass wasn’t forthcoming immediately. Indeed, van Gisbergen’s hopes were nearly dashed when he wagged the tail under brakes at Turn 5 on the penultimate lap.

Ultimately, van Gisbergen couldn’t clear Davison, settling for third. At the head of the field, De Pasquale came across the line 1.1 clear of the trailing pair.

Mostert fell shy of the podium, claiming fourth while Heimgartner was fifth.

The top 10 was completed by Winterbottom, Pye, Waters, Feeney, and James Courtney.

Two qualifying sessions will set the grid for Race 17 and Race 18 tomorrow, the first of which gets underway at 08:35 local time/09:05 AEST.

Results: Race 16, Merlin Darwin Triple Crown

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Gap
1 11 Shell V-Power Racing Team Anton De Pasquale Ford Mustang GT
2 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Will Davison Ford Mustang GT +1.1831
3 97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Shane van Gisbergen Holden ZB Commodore +1.4784
4 8 R&J Batteries Racing Andre Heimgartner Holden ZB Commodore +6.6768
5 18 Irwin Racing Mark Winterbottom Holden ZB Commodore +14.4053
6 20 Nulon Racing Scott Pye Holden ZB Commodore +18.3171
7 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT +19.3786
8 88 Red Bull Ampol Racing Broc Feeney Holden ZB Commodore +23.9295
9 5 Snowy River Caravans James Courtney Ford Mustang GT +24.4053
10 99 Boost Mobile Racing by Erebus Brodie Kostecki Holden ZB Commodore +24.9411
11 56 Tradie Racing Jake Kostecki Ford Mustang GT +25.4186
12 3 CoolDrive Racing Tim Slade Ford Mustang GT +29.5790
13 34 Truck Assist Racing Jack Le Brocq Holden ZB Commodore +33.5510
14 2 Mobil 1 NTI Racing Nick Percat Holden ZB Commodore +33.5743
15 10 Penrite Racing Lee Holdsworth Ford Mustang GT +34.0505
16 35 Truck Assist Racing Todd Hazelwood Holden ZB Commodore +34.0774
17 27 East Coast Lubes Jayden Ojeda Holden ZB Commodore +35.1375
18 14 Middy’s Electrical Racing Bryce Fullwood Holden ZB Commodore +35.3056
19 55 Castrol Racing Thomas Randle Ford Mustang GT +39.1215
20 96 Kubota Racing Macauley Jones Holden ZB Commodore +44.6432
21 78 Opposite Lock Zak Best Ford Mustang GT +58.7357
22 76 Subway Racing Garry Jacobson Holden ZB Commodore +1:02.0793
23 22 Coca-Cola No Sugar Racing Chris Pither Holden ZB Commodore +1 lap
24 4 SCT Logistics Racing Jack Smith Holden ZB Commodore +3 laps
25 26 Penrite Racing David Reynolds Ford Mustang GT +7 laps
DSQ 25 Mobil 1 Optus Racing Chaz Mostert Holden ZB Commodore +5.2558
DNF 9 Boost Mobile Racing by Erebus Will Brown Holden ZB Commodore

Fastest lap (bonus): Shane van Gisbergen, 1:07.2234s, Lap 27

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Pts
1 Shane van Gisbergen 1467
2 Anton De Pasquale 1195
3 Will Davison 1110
4 Cameron Waters 1107
5 David Reynolds 986
6 Chaz Mostert 947
7 Broc Feeney 947
8 Brodie Kostecki 917
9 Andre Heimgartner 824
10 James Courtney 820
11 Tim Slade 813
12 Lee Holdsworth 792
13 Mark Winterbottom 767
14 Todd Hazelwood 750
15 William Brown 690
16 Nick Percat 685
17 Scott Pye 589
18 Macauley Jones 557
19 Thomas Randle 522
20 Jack Le Brocq 512
21 Bryce Fullwood 498
22 Chris Pither 470
23 Jake Kostecki 467
24 Garry Jacobson 453
25 Jack Smith 434
26 Jayden Ojeda 126
27 Jordan Boys 62
28 Zak Best 28

Teams’ championship

Pos Car(s) Team Pts
1 88 97 Triple Eight Race Engineering 2414
2 11 17 Dick Johnson Racing 2305
3 5 6 Tickford Racing 1927
4 10 26 Grove Racing 1778
5 9 99 Erebus Motorsport 1607
6 2 25 Walkinshaw Andretti United 1602
7 18 20 Team 18 1356
8 8 14 Brad Jones Racing 1322
9 34 35 Matt Stone Racing 1262
10 4 96 Brad Jones Racing 991
11 55 56 Tickford Racing 989
12 22 76 PremiAir Racing 923
13 3 Blanchard Racing Team 813
14 27 Walkinshaw Andretti United 126
15 49 Image Racing 62
16 78 Tickford Racing 28

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