van Gisbergen games yield Race 20 win via De Pasquale penalty

Shane van Gisbergen. Picture: Ross Gibb

Shane van Gisbergen has been classified the winner in Race 20 at the NTI Townsville 500 after Anton De Pasquale was penalised for spinning him at the last corner.

De Pasquale unloaded the #97 Red Bull Ampol ZB Commodore in a big lunge at Turn 13 on Lap 88 of 88 but then slowed on Boundary Street in an apparent bid to redress the incident.

However, van Gisbergen showed incredible gamesmanship by slowing himself behind the #11 Shell V-Power Mustang and following it across the finish line to force officials into issuing a penalty.

Fortunately for De Pasquale, it was only five seconds, meaning he was put back to the second position he held moments earlier anyway and Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang) remained third at 6.6s behind Car #11.

It was a thrilling finish to what had been a mostly procedural conclusion to Event 7 of the Repco Supercars Championship, with De Pasquale making a contest of it after starting his final stint five seconds behind #97 and drifting to more than three seconds back after an initial recovery.

They remain the top two in the drivers’ championship too, with van Gisbergen’s margin creeping up to 274 points.

De Pasquale (#11 Mustang) had been the early race leader when he got the jump from the outside of the front row and his Dick Johnson Racing team-mate Will Davison also made a quicker start than pole-sitter Waters.

Davison looked to have taken second until Waters came back down the inside at Turn 2, which held the #17 Mustang wide and allowed Scott Pye to also launch a move at Turn 3.

There, they made contact on exit which turned Pye’s #20 Nulon ZB Commodore into the wall, while Davison ran headlong into the tyre barriers at Turn 5 due to damage to his own right-front tyre.

A Safety Car was called, with De Pasquale leading Waters, van Gisbergen, James Courtney (#5 Snowy River Caravans Mustang), Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Optus ZB Commodore), and Thomas Randle (#55 Castrol Mustang), the latter of whom was the only driver to start on super soft tyres instead of hards.

Davison was able to get back to the pits for a new tyre and resume in 24th, last of those still running, before the restart on Lap 4.

Randle, unsurprisingly, made quick gains, and was up to second position at a one-second deficit relative to De Pasquale when he passed Waters on Lap 6 at Turn 11.

The Tickford rookie overtook De Pasquale for the lead on Lap 8, before van Gisbergen relieved Waters of third position at Turn 11 on Lap 9.

Randle continued to creep away from the field and got as much as around 5.5s up the road, while Waters had drifted to about four seconds behind van Gisbergen when he stopped for a reported 77 litres of fuel, more hard tyres, and a front ride height lift on Lap 25.

van Gisbergen had twice caught De Pasquale but was back to around a second behind Car #11 when he came in on Lap 28 for 68 litres of fuel and more hard tyres.

Car #11 was called in a lap later from four seconds behind Randle and, despite the 66-litre fill, De Pasquale found himself undercut by van Gisbergen in so much that he could not hold off Car #97 when they arrived at Turn 3 on his out lap.

Randle discarded his softs on Lap 30 and filed back in between van Gisbergen and De Pasquale at Turn 2, but then ceded position to the latter at Turn 4, with a bump along the way.

Once the first cycle was complete at the end of Lap 34, van Gisbergen led by almost two seconds over De Pasquale, then it was Randle, Waters, Mostert, and Courtney completing the top six, while Andre Heimgartner (#8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore) had clawed his way to ninth from 12th on the grid.

Randle let team-mate Waters past for third on Lap 37, but presented far greater resistance to Mostert until the Walkinshaw Andretti United driver prised fourth off him on Lap 41.

Courtney was allowed to go under the #55 Mustang for fifth on Lap 45, while van Gisbergen had stretched his gap over De Pasquale to four seconds by the end of Lap 46.

Courtney was first of the front-runners to pit for super softs when he peeled off on Lap 59 and was followed into the lane by Heimgartner from eighth.

Waters and Mostert were 14.8s and 17.4s respectively from the lead when they pitted together on Lap 60, with Randle also in at that point for his second hard-tyre set.

van Gisbergen led De Pasquale by 4.5s when they both pitted for super softs on Lap 61, and they resumed about five seconds apart given the latter’s slightly longer fuel fill.

However, De Pasquale halved that gap in the next three laps, as Waters and Mostert both ran just over nine seconds off top spot in third and fourth respectively, followed by Courtney, Broc Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol ZB Commodore), and Heimgartner, with most having completed their second stop.

The split from first to second was less than two seconds on Lap 68, but it appeared that van Gisbergen had been keeping something in reserve, and he restored the margin to three seconds on Lap 76.

Be that as it may, De Pasquale had hardly burnt his super softs up either, as evidenced by him bringing the gap back down to 2.0s on Lap 83, and just under 0.9s at the completion of Lap 86 of 88.

It was just 0.6035s with a lap to go, before the flashpoint at Turn 13, near the end of the final 2.86km tour of the Reid Park Street Circuit.

Meanwhile, the battle for the final podium position turned into another classic Waters-Mostert stoush.

Mostert passed Car #6 at Turn 3 on Lap 68 despite Waters’ best efforts to block him, and the Tickford driver lost touch when he got held up by the lapped Lee Holdsworth (#10 Penrite Mustang), who would be given a drive-through for ignoring blue flags.

However, he caught back up to the #25 ZB Commodore with six laps to go and got past with a huge lunge at Turn 2 on Lap 84.

Courtney tried much the same a lap later and while he sailed wide, the 2010 champion made an overtake stick on the penultimate lap at Turn 11 to claim fourth.

Mostert thus ended up fifth, ahead of Feeney, while Davison hauled his way back to seventh.

Tim Slade (#3 CoolDrive Mustang) finished eighth, from Heimgartner and Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore), with Randle getting home in 17th and Pye the only DNF.

Next up is the OTR SuperSprint at The Bend Motorsport Park on July 29-31.

Results: Race 20, NTI Townsville 500

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Laps Race time
1 97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 88 1:54:58.0390
2 11 Shell V-Power Racing Team Anton De Pasquale Ford Mustang GT 88 1:55:02.5379
3 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT 88 1:55:04.1792
4 5 Snowy River Racing James Courtney Ford Mustang GT 88 1:55:10.7804
5 25 Mobil 1 Optus Racing Chaz Mostert Holden Commodore ZB 88 1:55:12.1368
6 88 Red Bull Ampol Racing Broc Feeney Holden Commodore ZB 88 1:55:16.1751
7 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Will Davison Ford Mustang GT 88 1:55:28.0543
8 3 CoolDrive Auto Parts Tim Slade Ford Mustang GT 88 1:55:38.7938
9 8 R&J Batteries Racing Andre Heimgartner Holden Commodore ZB 88 1:55:41.4858
10 18 IRWIN Racing Mark Winterbottom Holden Commodore ZB 88 1:55:42.3822
11 26 Penrite Racing David Reynolds Ford Mustang GT 88 1:55:47.6998
12 2 Mobil 1 NTI Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 88 1:55:48.9163
13 14 Middy’s Electrical Racing Bryce Fullwood Holden Commodore ZB 88 1:55:50.6287
14 34 Truck Assist Racing Jack Le Brocq Holden Commodore ZB 88 1:55:54.4066
15 35 Truck Assist Racing Todd Hazelwood Holden Commodore ZB 88 1:55:57.0107
16 99 Boost Mobile Racing by Erebus Brodie Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 88 1:56:10.3534
17 55 Castrol Racing Thomas Randle Ford Mustang GT 88 1:56:10.9308
18 22 PremiAir Coca Cola Racing Chris Pither Holden Commodore ZB 87 1:55:02.8261
19 9 Boost Mobile Racing by Erebus William Brown Holden Commodore ZB 87 1:55:06.5906
20 4 SCT Logistics Racing Jack Smith Holden Commodore ZB 87 1:55:13.3303
21 31 Subway PremiAir Racing James Golding Holden Commodore ZB 87 1:55:13.5552
22 96 Pizza Hut Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB 87 1:55:15.6777
23 10 Penrite Racing Lee Holdsworth Ford Mustang GT 87 1:55:48.1929
24 56 Tradie Racing Jake Kostecki Ford Mustang GT 80 1:55:23.7131
NC 20 Nulon Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Pts
1 Shane van Gisbergen 1881
2 Anton De Pasquale 1607
3 Cameron Waters 1551
4 Will Davison 1521
5 Chaz Mostert 1302
6 Broc Feeney 1257
7 David Reynolds 1234
8 Andre Heimgartner 1158
9 Brodie Kostecki 1103
10 Tim Slade 1083
11 James Courtney 1017
12 Mark Winterbottom 995
13 Lee Holdsworth 966
14 Nick Percat 924
15 William Brown 904
16 Todd Hazelwood 898
17 Jack Le Brocq 765
18 Bryce Fullwood 706
19 Macauley Jones 705
20 Scott Pye 700
21 Thomas Randle 673
22 Jake Kostecki 671
23 Chris Pither 625
24 Jack Smith 580
25 Garry Jacobson 513
26 Jayden Ojeda 150
27 James Golding 78
28 Jordan Boys 62
29 Zak Best 56

Teams’ championship

Pos Car(s) Team Pts
1 88 97 Triple Eight Race Engineering 3138
2 11 17 Dick Johnson Racing 3128
3 5 6 Tickford Racing 2568
4 10 26 Grove Racing 2200
5 2 25 Walkinshaw Andretti United 2196
6 9 99 Erebus Motorsport 2007
7 8 14 Brad Jones Racing 1864
8 18 20 Team 18 1695
9 34 35 Matt Stone Racing 1663
10 55 56 Tickford Racing 1344
11 4 96 Brad Jones Racing 1285
12 22 31 (76) PremiAir Racing 1216
13 3 Blanchard Racing Team 1083
14 27 Walkinshaw Andretti United 150
15 49 Image Racing 62
16 78 Tickford Racing 56

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