Van Gisbergen eases to big win in Race 1 of Gen3 era

Shane van Gisbergen. Picture: Ross Gibb

Shane van Gisbergen. Picture: Ross Gibb

Shane van Gisbergen has taken a big victory in the first race of the Gen3 Supercars era at the Thrifty Newcastle 500 in a Triple Eight Racing Engineering one-two.

The three-time champion ran fourth initially before passing team-mate Broc Feeney in the early stages of Race 1 and then pinching track position with a relatively short fuel fill at his first stop.

Van Gisbergen was then able to drive into a big enough lead to retain first position when he took his latter stop, while Feeney jumped Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters in that cycle.

The Red Bull Ampol Racing Chevrolet Camaros took the chequered flag 14.7408s apart after 95 laps of the Newcastle East Street Circuit, with Waters 5.0052s further back in the #6 Monster Energy Mustang in a race which ran Safety Car-free.

Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert claimed fourth in the #25 Mobil 1 Optus Mustang after running down pole-sitter Brodie Kostecki, who finished fifth in the #99 Coca-Cola Camaro.

Rounding out the top 10 were Kostecki’s Erebus Motorsport team-mate Will Brown (#9 Coca-Cola Camaro), Brad Jones Racing’s Andre Heimgartner (#8 R&J Batteries Camaro), Team 18 drivers Mark Winterbottom (#18 DeWalt Camaro) and Scott Pye (#20 Hino Camaro), and Tickford’s James Courtney (#5 Snowy River Caravans Mustang).

Dick Johnson Racing’s Will Davison (#17 Shell V-Power Mustang) finished 13th, one position up on where he started, while Anton De Pasquale (#11 Shell V-Power Mustang) was classified a lap down in 18th after an early run-in with Todd Hazelwood.

The start was even enough but Kostecki prevailed on the inside line at the first corner and led up Watt Street from Waters and Feeney (#88 Camaro).

Van Gisbergen (#97 Camaro) gained two positions off the line to run fourth, from Tim Slade (#400 Nulon Camaro), David Reynolds (#26 Penrite Mustang), Heimgartner, Mostert, James Golding (#31 Nulon Camaro), and Pye.

De Pasquale had already dropped two positions to 19th when he was spun by Hazelwood (#3 CoolDrive Mustang) as they turned off Zaara Street (Turn 8) on Lap 2, although officials opted to take no action.

Up the front, they ran as you were until van Gisbergen nipped down the inside of Feeney on Lap 13 at Turn 8, allowing him to harass Waters for second place.

The first pit stop cycle began on Lap 20 but it was not until Lap 28 that Feeney peeled off, as van Gisbergen continued to tail Waters, and Kostecki ran about one second ahead.

Waters skated wide as he exited the Turn 11 Hairpin on Lap 30 and while he looked to have done enough to hold the position, he pitted after the next corner anyway.

Kostecki was into the lane a lap later but rejoined behind Waters and Feeney, before van Gisbergen took service on Lap 32.

He was relatively short-filled and got back out in front of what was an already vigorous battle between Waters and Feeney, meaning they were top three when the cycle ended.

Kostecki held fourth, from Reynolds, Mostert, Brown, Heimgartner, Pye, and Davison, while Slade had dropped two laps due to a drama getting the right-front off Car #400.

Van Gisbergen had a fuel disadvantage of around 10 litres out of the mandated 100-litre drop but had started to make up for it when he moved his lead beyond three seconds on Lap 40, while Waters had shaken Feeney.

After 10 laps more, the margin Car #97 enjoyed was 6.4s and hence it was ahead in effective terms, even accounting for the fuel discrepancy.

Kostecki was first of the front-runners to pit again, taking fuel, tyres, and a front anti-roll bar adjustment at the end of Lap 55.

Feeney was in a lap later and Waters a lap later again, with an effective change for second position ensuing when the latter rejoined just behind the former, while Mostert passed Reynolds on the race track at Turn 8.

Van Gisbergen completed the second pit stop cycle when he took service on Lap 64 with a margin which allowed him to resume about four seconds up on team-mate Feeney.

For the run home, Waters was third, Kostecki a few seconds back in fourth, and Mostert about 10 seconds more in arrears in fifth, from Brown, Heimgartner, Winterbottom, Courtney, and Pye, with Reynolds 12th, Davison 14th, and De Pasquale 19th.

Van Gisbergen lapped the latter as they crossed the control line to start Lap 74, at which point his buffer to Feeney was more than six seconds.

Meanwhile, Mostert had wiped out the 10-second deficit to Kostecki and was all over the #99 Camaro, but the Erebus pilot was doing just enough to hang on to the place.

However, when he skated wide of the apex at Turn 1 on Lap 80, Mostert got a run and completed the pass for fourth position by the time they arrived at Cops (Turn 2).

Courtney still sat ninth when he glanced the wall exiting the Pilot Station (Turn 12), before the other side of the #5 Mustang copped a hit when Pye elbowed his way past at Turn 8 not too long later.

Well up the road, van Gisbergen continued to make time, with the gap over Feeney blowing out to 13.6s as he started the final lap.

Nick Percat (#2 Mobil 1 NTI Mustang) was the sole DNF in the 25-car field, due to a brake problem for his WAU entry.

With one race down in 2023, van Gisbergen leads the drivers’ championship by 12 points over Feeney, with Triple Eight a maximum 288 points thus far.

Qualifying for Race 2 starts tomorrow at 11:15 local time/AEDT.

Results: Race 1, Thrifty Newcastle 500 Updated

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Laps Race time
1 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT 95 1:58:33.2312
2 25 Mobil 1 Optus Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Mustang GT 95 1:58:40.8803
3 99 Coca-Cola Racing by Erebus Brodie Kostecki Chev Camaro ZL1 95 1:58:46.6723
4 9 Coca-Cola Racing by Erebus William Brown Chev Camaro ZL1 95 1:58:50.7673
5 8 R&J Batteries Racing Andre Heimgartner Chev Camaro ZL1 95 1:58:51.7185
6 18 DEWALT Racing Mark Winterbottom Chev Camaro ZL1 95 1:58:57.8238
7 20 Hino Scott Pye Chev Camaro ZL1 95 1:59:03.7288
8 5 Snowy River Racing James Courtney Ford Mustang GT 95 1:59:15.9978
9 34 Truck Assist Racing Jack Le Brocq Chev Camaro ZL1 95 1:59:16.0996
10 26 Penrite Racing David Reynolds Ford Mustang GT 95 1:59:16.7964
11 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Will Davison Ford Mustang GT 95 1:59:23.0047
12 19 Penrite Racing Matthew Payne Ford Mustang GT 95 1:59:26.4309
13 56 Tradie Racing Declan Fraser Ford Mustang GT 95 2:00:10.9614
14 3 CoolDrive Racing Todd Hazelwood Ford Mustang GT 95 2:00:17.5818
15 14 Middy’s Racing Bryce Fullwood Chev Camaro ZL1 95 2:00:29.7432
16 11 Shell V-Power Racing Team Anton De Pasquale Ford Mustang GT 95 2:00:34.6468
17 55 Castrol Racing Thomas Randle Ford Mustang GT 95 2:00:36.0536
18 31 Nulon Racing James Golding Chev Camaro ZL1 94 1:58:48.3364
19 96 Pizza Hut Racing Macauley Jones Chev Camaro ZL1 94 1:58:55.8177
20 35 Truck Assist Racing Cameron Hill Chev Camaro ZL1 94 1:59:20.3425
21 4 SCT Motorsport Jack Smith Chev Camaro ZL1 93 2:00:19.2029
22 400 Nulon Racing Tim Slade Chev Camaro ZL1 90 1:58:45.2174
NC 2 Mobil 1 NTI Racing Nick Percat Ford Mustang GT 50 1:03:04.1605
DSQ 97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Shane van Gisbergen Chev Camaro ZL1    
DSQ 88 Red Bull Ampol Racing Broc Feeney Chev Camaro ZL1    

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