Van Gisbergen wins a thriller in Pukekohe’s last Supercars race
Sunday 11th September, 2022 - 3:18pm
Shane van Gisbergen has won the last ever Supercars race at his home circuit of Pukekohe after a hair-raising battle with Cameron Waters.
A bungled pit stop at the Shell V-Power Racing Team took pole-sitter Will Davison out of the effective lead, leaving Waters to try and fend off two New Zealanders in Andre Heimgartner and van Gisbergen for victory.
The Tickford Racing driver was ragged, losing most of his gap to Heimgartner with an off at the chicane, before just keeping van Gisbergen at bay after another error at the Hairpin.
He was nearly spinning into the wall a lap later when they made contact through Turn 11, but eventually ceded first position to the Red Bull Ampol Racing entry with just over two laps of 41 remaining.
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In the end, van Gisbergen prevailed, from eighth on the grid, by margin of 1.1160s over the #50 Monster Energy Mustang of Waters, with Brad Jones Racing’s Heimgartner third in the #8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore.
CLICK HERE for van Gisbergen reaction
At lights out, pole-sitter Davison got a slightly better launch than fellow front row starter Waters, who tucked in and rubbed the rear bar of the #17 Mustang as they switched from Turn 1 into Turn 2.
At the back of the field, James Courtney (#5 Snowy River Caravans Mustang) ended up spinning heavily into the wall after contact with Todd Hazelwood (#35 Truck Assist ZB Commodore) and possibly also Tickford team-mate Jake Kostecki (#56 Tradie Mustang), with those drivers having been four-wide with Jack Smith (#4 SCT Logistics ZB Commodore) off the start.
Under the Safety Car which ensued, it was Davison heading Waters, Anton De Pasquale (#11 Shell V-Power Mustang), Broc Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol ZB Commodore), Heimgartner, Scott Pye (#20 Nulon ZB Commodore), David Reynolds (#26 Penrite Mustang), van Gisbergen (#97 ZB Commodore), Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Optus ZB Commodore), and Nick Percat (#2 Mobil 1 NTI ZB Commodore).
Courtney was unharmed but a long delay unfolded in order to reposition the concrete blocks, before a restart on Lap 12.
Van Gisbergen was seventh once he dived past Reynolds at the Hairpin on Lap 14, as Waters continued to tail Davison at the very front of the field.
Pye pitted from a busy group on Lap 16 and Feeney was into the lane from just behind De Pasquale’s rear wing on Lap 18.
De Pasquale himself and Heimgartner were in a lap later for rears and the BJR crew were able to give their man the jump on the Dick Johnson Racing entry.
Heimgartner also got out ahead of Feeney and, after some rubbing through the Turn 2/Turn 3/Turn 4 complex, held the spot to consolidate an effective gain of yet another position.
Waters stopped on Lap 21 and Davison on Lap 22, at which point the DJR driver’s race unravelled.
Car #17 was dropped with the left-rear not tightened properly and, after a slow lap during which he ceded the effective race lead to Waters anyway, Davison was soon back to the pits for another left-rear, and then again to serve a drive-through for an unsafe release.
Van Gisbergen took service on Lap 25 and rejoined an effective third, but he and Heimgartner were right up behind Waters after the Tickford driver had an off at Turn 5.
They were the official top three when the pit stop cycle wrapped up at the end of Lap 30, before van Gisbergen went down the inside of Heimgartner next time through at Turn 5.
The Triple Eight Race Engineering driver faced a 0.86s deficit to Waters as Feeney ran in fourth, from De Pasquale, Pye, Mostert, Percat, Reynolds, and Tim Slade (#3 CoolDrive Mustang) in 10th.
Waters pinched a brake and ran deep at the Hairpin on Lap 34, but held the position on that occasion.
A lap later, van Gisbergen outbraked Car #50 at the same corner, but Waters fought back as they accelerated towards the final sweepers.
They made contact, #97’s left-front to #50’s right-rear, as they turned onto the main straight and van Gisbergen got out of the throttle as Waters somehow saved a big slide and clung on to the race lead.
On Lap 39, van Gisbergen opted for a criss-cross at the Hairpin and executed it to perfection, completing the pass as they turned back onto the main straight, after which he was never headed.
Behind Waters and Heimgartner finished Feeney in fourth, one spot up on De Pasquale, whose car was repaired by DJR after a sizeable crash in Race 28, earlier in the day.
Mostert took sixth, ahead of Pye, Reynolds, Percat, and Slade, with Davison a lap down in 22nd and Hazelwood making the finish at six laps down in 23rd.
With van Gisbergen also taking the five fastest lap points, his championship lead is now 525 points over Waters, and he also secures the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy.
The next event of the Repco Supercars Championship is the Repco Bathurst 1000, at Mount Panorama on October 6-9.
Results: Race 29, ITM Auckland SuperSprint
|1||97||Red Bull Ampol Racing||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||41||54:40.0655|
|2||50||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||41||54:41.1815|
|3||8||R&J Batteries Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Holden Commodore ZB||41||54:41.6920|
|4||88||Red Bull Ampol Racing||Broc Feeney||Holden Commodore ZB||41||54:43.2791|
|5||11||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Anton De Pasquale||Ford Mustang GT||41||54:45.6921|
|6||25||Mobil 1 Optus Racing||Chaz Mostert||Holden Commodore ZB||41||54:46.2930|
|7||20||Nulon Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||41||54:47.4824|
|8||26||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Ford Mustang GT||41||54:48.5835|
|9||2||Mobil 1 NTI Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||41||54:52.6972|
|10||3||CoolDrive Auto Parts||Tim Slade||Ford Mustang GT||41||54:53.0290|
|11||31||Subway PremiAir Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||41||54:58.0870|
|12||18||IRWIN Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||41||54:59.0081|
|13||14||Middy’s Electrical Racing||Bryce Fullwood||Holden Commodore ZB||41||55:04.7275|
|14||10||Penrite Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||41||55:05.3836|
|15||56||Tradie Racing||Jake Kostecki||Ford Mustang GT||41||55:05.6846|
|16||22||PremiAir Coca Cola Racing||Chris Pither||Holden Commodore ZB||41||55:06.8265|
|17||96||Kubota Racing||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||41||55:07.2909|
|18||55||Castrol Racing||Thomas Randle||Ford Mustang GT||41||55:11.8927|
|19||99||Boost Mobile Racing by Erebus||Brodie Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||41||55:12.5520|
|20||4||SCT Logistics Racing||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||41||55:14.7248|
|21||34||Truck Assist Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||41||55:17.3582|
|22||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||40||55:35.2071|
|23||35||Truck Assist Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||34||55:17.4994|
|NC||5||Snowy River Racing||James Courtney||Ford Mustang GT|
Fastest lap (bonus): Shane van Gisbergen, 1:03.0287, Lap 28
|1||Shane van Gisbergen||2782|
|4||Anton De Pasquale||2113|
|21||Jack Le Brocq||937|
Teams’ championship Updated
|1||88||97||Triple Eight Race Engineering||4634|
|2||11||17||Dick Johnson Racing Team||4293|
|4||2||25||Walkinshaw Andretti United||3254|
|7||8||14||Brad Jones Racing||2648|
|9||34||35||Matt Stone Racing||2099|
|12||4||96||Brad Jones Racing||1859|
|13||3||Blanchard Racing Team||1435|
|16||27||Walkinshaw Andretti United||150|