Waters holds off van Gisbergen in Gold Coast 500 cliffhanger
Saturday 28th October, 2023 - 6:42pm
Cam Waters has beaten Shane van Gisbergen to victory in Race 25 at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 by just 0.1945s.
Van Gisbergen hauled the #6 Tickford Racing Mustang in once he passed David Reynolds with nine laps to go around the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit, and started the 85th and final lap just 0.3621s behind.
They were nose-to-tail into the Hairpin but Waters held on to score his second win of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship and first in 24 races.
Van Gisbergen’s second place means the Red Bull Ampol Racing driver gains 27 points on Brodie Kostecki, with those two now separated by 104 points at the top of the table after the Erebus Motorsport driver finished fifth from 10th on the grid following a Top 10 Shootout kerb strike.
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Reynolds finished eight second back in third in the #26 Penrite Racing Ford Mustang, with Thomas Randle fourth in the second of the Tickford Mustangs.
Team 18’s Scott Pye (#20 Hino Camaro) was officially classified sixth once a spate of time penalties for track limits breaches were applied, with Brad Jones Racing’s Andre Heimgartner (#8 R&J Batteries Camaro) seventh, from Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Optus Mustang), Grove Racing’s Matt Payne (#19 Penrite Mustang), and Tickford’s James Courtney (#5 Mustang).
Back at the start, Waters got away well enough to convert pole position into the early lead, from Payne and Randle.
Van Gisbergen (#97 Camaro) was somewhat slow away and slotted into fifth, behind Mostert (#25 Mustang), after they made contact through the front chicane on Lap 1.
Van Gisbergen backed up Reynolds (#26 Mustang) in the early stages while Kostecki (#99 Coca-Cola Camaro) made his way from 10th on the grid to seventh in the first two laps, from Pye, Heimgartner, and Courtney.
Tim Slade (#23 Nulon Camaro) went from ninth on the grid to back of the pack after he ended up in the barriers at the front chicane on Lap 1.
Mostert put a move on Randle at the Hairpin on Lap 3 before the latter regained the place at Turn 12 on Lap 11, at which time the WAU driver brushed the tyre barriers while he was out on the grey.
Meanwhile, Broc Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol Camaro) had just been relegated to 19th by Will Brown (#9 Coca-Cola Camaro) in a battle involving several cars when he became the first driver to pit, on Lap 8, for just 10 litres of the mandated 100.
Payne was pressuring Waters in the early stages but was then told to look for clear air, before being issued a bad sportsmanship flag on Lap 13 for track limits breaches.
Waters’ lead was beyond a full second on Lap 15, by which time three others including Mostert had also been officially warned about track limits.
Mostert then lost fourth position to van Gisbergen on Lap 16, when the Triple Eight Race Engineering pilot gave the lightest of rubs as they exited the final corner before making the move as they sped down the Gold Coast Highway.
Reynolds caught Mostert but pitted on Lap 18, as the top three ran within a second of each other again, with van Gisbergen closing in.
Kostecki passed Mostert for fifth off the Hairpin on Lap 26, after which the WAU driver pitted anyway, following Randle into the lane.
Waters was back out to a second-plus lead when he stopped on Lap 27 but, more importantly, rejoined just ahead of Reynolds, who had Randle and Mostert behind him.
Van Gisbergen was the official leader with a move on Payne into the front chicane on Lap 29, before they pitted on Lap 31 and were followed in by Kostecki from third.
Triple Eight filled Car #97 just enough to still exit ahead of Car #99 and it was fourth once the order was largely cleansed on Lap 32.
Waters led by almost 0.9s from Reynolds, Randle, van Gisbergen, Kostecki, Heimgartner, Mostert, and Pye, with effectively ninth onwards being Courtney, Payne, and Feeney.
On Lap 36, Payne passed Courtney for ninth in a wild moment at the Beach Chicane, when they bumped on their way in and then straight-lined the complex.
Payne would be penalised five seconds after being adjudged to have not been ahead at the 150m board, even if he had nosed in front by the time they arrived at Turn 7.
Pye passed Mostert for seventh before Waters moved his lead beyond two seconds to Reynolds on Lap 45, by which time the Grove Racing driver had Randle on his tail.
Tickford opted to call Randle into the pits for what would be a slow stop on Lap 50, just as Reynolds was given a bad sportsmanship flag for track limits breaches.
Waters was three seconds to the good when he made his second stop on Lap 53, and Reynolds was in a lap later.
The latter got out just ahead but was slow off the Hairpin on cold tyres and had to cede the effective lead when they arrived at the Beach Chicane.
Kostecki had turned the wick up while van Gisbergen pitted from the official lead on Lap 56 and rejoined just behind Reynolds.
Kostecki reset the fastest lap on Lap 57, right as he too was issued a bad sportsmanship flag over track limits.
He and Mostert stopped on Lap 58, and the former then had a battle on his hands to keep Heimgartner behind.
The second pit cycle was near enough to complete on Lap 60, at which time Waters had 1.4s on Reynolds, with van Gisbergen third from Randle, Kostecki, Heimgartner, Pye, Payne, Mostert, Courtney, Brown in 11th, and Feeney in 14th.
Van Gisbergen joined Kostecki and Reynolds on a track limits warning on Lap 62.
Reynolds had halved Waters’ margin to 0.7s on Lap 71 before the Tickford pilot responded with a fastest second sector of the race, but traffic ahead was becoming a concern.
Nevertheless, Car #6 was two full seconds ahead again on Lap 74, while van Gisbergen had reeled in Car #26.
The three-time champion made the move as they ran down the highway and into the front chicane on Lap 77, when Waters became the new target at 2.7s up the road.
With five laps to go, the gap was less than two seconds, and Waters had just joined the rest of the top five on a track limits warning.
Van Gisbergen continued to close the gap but Waters held firm and was first to the chequered flag for the first time this year.
Heimgartner crossed the line sixth and Mostert seventh but they had five seconds added to their race times for track limits breaches, promoting Pye two positions.
Payne and Courtney were also pinged but had enough margin on Brown, who took the chequered flag in 11th after starting dead last in the 25-car field, to retain ninth and 10th respectively while Feeney ended up 14th.
Qualifying for Race 26 starts tomorrow at 10:05 local time/11:05 AEDT.
CLICK HERE for full Race 25 results
|2||Shane van Gisbergen||2454|
|8||Anton De Pasquale||1638|
|9||Jack Le Brocq||1553|
|56||Simona De Silvestro||90|
|2||88||97||Triple Eight Race Engineering||4526|
|3||8||14||Brad Jones Racing||3291|
|4||11||17||Dick Johnson Racing||3187|
|6||2||25||Walkinshaw Andretti United||3058|
|10||34||35||Matt Stone Racing||2480|
|12||4||96||Brad Jones Racing||1874|
|13||3||Blanchard Racing Team||999|
|14||888||Triple Eight Race Engineering||298|
|15||7||Blanchard Racing Team||162|
|16||98||Dick Johnson Racing||60|