Van Gisbergen wins amid Race 3 pit stop games

Shane van Gisbergen wins. Picture: Ross Gibb Photography

Shane van Gisbergen wins. Picture: Ross Gibb Photography

Shane van Gisbergen has edged Brodie Kostecki to victory in Race 3 of the Repco Supercars Championship at Albert Park after some late pit stop games spiced up the contest.

All four races which make up the Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint were supposed to be mixed-compound affairs but light rain had fallen on the formation lap and the track was declared wet.

With the super soft showing much greater than expected durability, it opened up the option for the front-runners to stay out as late as possible and just change rears to another two super softs without ruining them for the subsequent races, which Erebus Motorsport did for Will Brown with two laps to go.

Triple Eight Race Engineering then realised the point and van Gisbergen was given fresh super softs on the rear only when he and Kostecki, in the lead Erebus car, stopped with a lap to go.

However, it appeared to be a late call and while Car #97 lost most of its 2.5s lead, the Red Bull Ampol Racing crew did just enough to keep van Gisbergen in the lead, which he converted into a 0.3910s victory after 19 laps.

The podium was van Gisbergen, Kostecki, and Brown, with Broc Feeney fourth in the other Triple Eight Chevrolet and also collecting the bonus points for the fastest lap on his final tour of Albert Park.

Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert was first of the Ford drivers home, claiming fifth in the #25 Mobil 1 Optus Mustang and holding on to his drivers’ championship lead.

Rounding out the top 10 were Anton De Pasquale (#11 Shell V-Power Mustang), Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang), Jack Le Brocq (#34 Truck Assist Camaro), James Courtney (#5 Snowy River Caravans Mustang), and Macauley Jones (#96 Pizza Hut Camaro).

The top 14 had started on the super soft compound of tyre and, when the lights went out, De Pasquale led the field away from pole position but soon came under attack from Kostecki.

The Erebus driver shaped for a move through the Lakeside Stadium section but that would ultimately slow him down, and van Gisbergen (#97 Camaro) pinched second place as they ran into Turn 6.

Meanwhile, Waters ran fourth, having passed Mostert off the start.

The top two would gap Kostecki slightly in the opening laps but van Gisbergen stuck with De Pasquale, before outbraking the Dick Johnson Racing entry and taking the lead on Lap 3 at Turn 3.

Only two seconds covered the top five until Kostecki and Waters ended up side-by-side through Turn 10 on Lap 5, bumping the latter wide and causing him to drop to sixth, behind Brown.

A lap later, Le Brocq lunged Waters at Turn 3 but could not make the move stick, then Courtney did likewise on Le Brocq, touring the weeds at Turn 6/Turn 7 and emerging ninth, behind Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol Camaro).

At the very front, van Gisbergen was more than a full second to the good at the end of Lap 6, as Mostert found himself in an Erebus sandwich in fourth position, between Kostecki and Brown.

With 10 laps in the books, only James Golding (#31 Nulon Camaro), from 10th, had pitted to swap from super softs to hard tyres and those who had not were still notching up personal best sectors, despite predictions that the super soft compound would degrade very quickly.

Brown got a run on Mostert and put a move on the WAU pilot on Lap 12 at Turn 1, as van Gisbergen continued to circulate a second up on De Pasquale.

Kostecki closed back in on De Pasquale and then made the pass for second on Lap 15 at Ascari, as van Gisbergen set a new fastest lap which saw his lead increased to 2.3s.

With just two laps to go, half of the 15 drivers who had not yet pitted were called into the lane to get rid of their super softs and take their hard tyre set for the run home.

A slow stop meant that De Pasquale was jumped by Brown and Feeney, before the rest peeled off at the end of Lap 18.

Triple Eight appeared to have to go and fetch super softs for the rear just as van Gisbergen was coming down the lane.

However, they responded quickly enough to dispatch #97 still in front and he took what seemed an unlikely victory after a crash in Practice 1 kept him out of the second session of the day.

“Thanks to my team, Red Bull Ampol Racing,” he said.

“Like, what I did to my car this morning, tried to write the thing off, and then fix it up like they did.

“Two good qualis and a race win, I’m stoked, thank you.”

On the crash, van Gisbergen remarked, “I didn’t think it was too bad; like, I didn’t hit the wall too hard, and I got back and the front was destroyed.

“Normally with the old car, you would’ve made it out for Practice 2.

“Yeah, it was a bit of a panic – ‘Are we going make quali, are we not, what’s it going to feel like? – for the guys to just take their time, make sure it’s right. It was cool.”

Race 4, scheduled for 15 laps, starts tomorrow at 14:55 local time/AEDT at the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

Results: Race 3, Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint Updated

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Laps Race time
1 97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Shane van Gisbergen Chev Camaro ZL1 19 35:42.5401
2 99 Coca-Cola Racing by Erebus Brodie Kostecki Chev Camaro ZL1 19 35:42.9311
3 9 Coca-Cola Racing by Erebus William Brown Chev Camaro ZL1 19 35:44.4927
4 88 Red Bull Ampol Racing Broc Feeney Chev Camaro ZL1 19 35:49.9171
5 25 Mobil 1 Optus Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Mustang GT 19 35:56.8396
6 11 Shell V-Power Racing Team Anton De Pasquale Ford Mustang GT 19 35:57.3193
7 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT 19 35:57.6726
8 34 Truck Assist Racing Jack Le Brocq Chev Camaro ZL1 19 35:57.6837
9 5 Snowy River Racing James Courtney Ford Mustang GT 19 35:59.5879
10 96 Pizza Hut Racing Macauley Jones Chev Camaro ZL1 19 35:59.7166
11 14 Middy’s Racing Bryce Fullwood Chev Camaro ZL1 19 36:02.6630
12 55 Castrol Racing Thomas Randle Ford Mustang GT 19 36:04.5022
13 19 Penrite Racing Matthew Payne Ford Mustang GT 19 36:05.7001
14 2 Mobil 1 NTI Racing Nick Percat Ford Mustang GT 19 36:08.3912
15 20 Resimax Group Scott Pye Chev Camaro ZL1 19 36:11.2220
16 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Will Davison Ford Mustang GT 19 36:16.7179
17 8 R&J Batteries Racing Andre Heimgartner Chev Camaro ZL1 19 36:16.9035
18 35 Truck Assist Racing Cameron Hill Chev Camaro ZL1 19 36:19.9022
19 26 Penrite Racing David Reynolds Ford Mustang GT 19 36:20.0096
20 23 Nulon Racing Tim Slade Chev Camaro ZL1 19 36:22.5792
21 18 DEWALT Racing Mark Winterbottom Chev Camaro ZL1 19 36:23.7584
22 31 Nulon Racing James Golding Chev Camaro ZL1 19 36:23.8073
23 4 SCT Motorsport Jack Smith Chev Camaro ZL1 19 36:24.0692
24 56 Tradie Racing Declan Fraser Ford Mustang GT 19 36:28.6484
DSQ 3 CoolDrive Racing Todd Hazelwood Ford Mustang GT    

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