Reynolds beats Kostecki in Gold Coast 500 thriller
Sunday 29th October, 2023 - 5:25pm
Grove Racing’s David Reynolds has beaten Erebus Motorsport’s Brodie Kostecki to victory in a thrilling Race 26 at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500.
Reynolds emerged with the lead from his second pit stop with 26 laps to go around the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit but came under huge pressure from the Repco Supercars Championship leader.
He even lost the lead with 14 laps to go but got it back two laps later when Kostecki slipped wide, before a late Safety Car period set up a four-lap sprint to the chequered flag.
Reynolds controversially straight-lined the front chicane on the final lap and would prevail by 0.1889s after 85 laps of motor racing.
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With Shane van Gisbergen finishing fifth, Kostecki’s championship lead over the Triple Eight Race Engineering driver is back up to 131 points, exactly what it was at the start of the weekend.
Race 25 winner Cameron Waters completed the Race 26 podium in his Tickford Racing entry, while Triple Eight’s Broc Feeney and Erebus’s Will Brown are now mathematically out of the title hunt after finishing eighth and 11th respectively.
Kostecki (#99 Coca-Cola Camaro) had led the field away from pole position while Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Optus Mustang) made a storming start from the outside of Row 2 and slotted into third, between the Penrite Racing cars of Reynolds (#26 Mustang) and Matt Payne (#19 Mustang), after sidestepping the front chicane and a probable incident on Lap 1.
There was an incident just around the corner, though, when James Courtney (#5 Tickford Racing Mustang) and Tim Slade (#23 Nulon Camaro) crunched together at the Turn 4 hairpin and Macauley Jones (#96 Pizza Hut Camaro) was also caught in the melee.
That crash drew a Safety Car, under which Kostecki held sway from Reynolds, Mostert, Payne, Mark Winterbottom (#18 DeWalt Camaro), James Golding (#31 Nulon Camaro), Brown (#9 Coca-Cola Camaro), Waters (#6 Tickford Mustang), Anton De Pasquale (#11 Shell V-Power Mustang), and van Gisbergen (#97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro), with Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol Camaro) 13th.
The Safety Car pulled in at the end of Lap 7 and Kostecki waited a long time to launch, a strategy which checked the field up, but Reynolds stuck with him and remained close for several laps.
Meanwhile, van Gisbergen had cleared De Pasquale and then put a move on Waters for eighth on the run to the Beach Chicane on Lap 10.
Kostecki’s lead was 1.2s after 20 laps, before Payne was first of the front-runners to pit, from fourth on Lap 21.
Kostecki had not made any more margin by the time he stopped on Lap 27, with Mostert and then Winterbottom and Waters each into the lane a lap later again.
On Lap 31, it was van Gisbergen’s turn, and he squeezed in between Waters and Golding upon exiting the pits at the front chicane.
Reynolds ceded the official lead when he stopped on Lap 32, resuming behind Kostecki and Payne, before Bryce Fullwood (#14 Middy’s Camaro) completed the first pit cycle on Lap 35.
Then, Kostecki lead by 1.8s to a short-filled Payne, from Reynolds, Mostert on a track limits warning, Waters, van Gisbergen, Golding, Winterbottom, Brown, De Pasquale, and Feeney in 11th.
Waters passed Mostert on Lap 39 at the hairpin, then van Gisbergen harassed him until he made the pass for fifth at the same spot on Lap 43.
Kostecki’s advantage was three seconds once Payne stepped aside on Lap 43 to let team-mate Reynolds, who was thought to have about 3.5s of fuel time in hand relative to Car #99, take up the chase.
Golding divebombed Mostert at Turn 11 on Lap 47 and completed the pass for sixth at the next left-hander, before Waters caught and then overtook Payne on Lap 50 at the hairpin.
Mostert pitted from seventh on Lap 51 and rejoined between Payne and van Gisbergen on the road.
When he got his lap back relative to the former, van Gisbergen took the opportunity to pass Payne for position on Lap 54 at Turn 12.
Both were into the lane, however, after three corners more, as were Golding and Brown, and the fill requirements to make the 100-litre drop were such that Golding headed Payne, van Gisbergen, and Brown out of the pits.
Van Gisbergen was issued a bad sportsmanship flag and Mostert a five-second penalty for track limits breaches, while Kostecki had stretched his lead beyond four seconds by the time he pitted on Lap 57.
It would still not be enough to reclaim the lead when Reynolds stopped for a second time on Lap 59.
By the time Reynolds completed his out lap, the Grove Racing driver led by 1.2s, with Kostecki second from an off-sequence Jack Smith (#4 SCT Logistics Camaro), Waters, Golding, Payne, van Gisbergen, Brown, Mostert, Winterbottom, and Scott Pye (#20 Hino Camaro).
Kostecki brought the gap under a full second next time by, while Pye was on the climb and dived past Mostert for eighth on Lap 62 at Turn 11.
Reynolds’ lead had been nibbled away to half a second on Lap 67, and Kostecki was soon applying all manner of pressure to the 2017 Bathurst 1000 winner, including working over the rear bar of Car #26.
Reynolds squirmed and straight-lined the front chicane on Lap 71 but survived that time.
Kostecki got inside of Reynolds at the hairpin on Lap 72 and the Grove driver was finally forced to cede the position as they reached the Beach Chicane.
Kostecki had the lead, but then he bowled a wide two laps later at Turn 11 and Reynolds did not waste the opportunity to force his Mustang back alongside and reclaim top spot at the next corner.
Meanwhile, Golding had been pressuring Waters for third until he slapped the tyre wall at the front chicane on Lap 78 and spun.
Payne, van Gisbergen, and Brown squeezed through the gap between the #31 Camaro and the wall on drivers’ right.
Pye, though, arrived on the scene as Golding lit it up to flick-spin the PremiAir entry and the Team 18 driver slapped the wall, before coming to rest just around the hairpin.
A Safety Car would be called on Lap 79, with the order now Reynolds, Kostecki, Waters, Payne, van Gisbergen, Brown on a five-second penalty for track limits breaches, Golding, Randle, Mostert on a five-second penalty, and Feeney.
The restart came with four laps to go, at which point both Reynolds and Kostecki dropped the chasing pack.
Kostecki gave Car #26 another whack at Turn 15 with a lap to go, before Reynolds wobbled on the way into the front chicane and cut the complex again.
The win is Reynolds’ first since 2018, and the first for Grove Racing since Andre Heimgartner’s in the Kelly Grove Racing days in 2021.
Waters finished third, from Payne, and van Gisbergen, with Golding classified sixth from Randle, Feeney, Winterbottom, and Fullwood.
Brown ended up 11th on the results sheet and Mostert 13th once their penalties were applied.
The 2023 season finale, the Vailo Adelaide 500, takes place on November 23-26.
CLICK HERE for full Race 26 results
|2||Shane van Gisbergen||2565|
|8||Anton De Pasquale||1680|
|10||Jack Le Brocq||1616|
|56||Simona De Silvestro||90|
|2||88||97||Triple Eight Race Engineering||4727|
|3||8||14||Brad Jones Racing||3423|
|4||11||17||Dick Johnson Racing||3286|
|6||2||25||Walkinshaw Andretti United||3193|
|10||34||35||Matt Stone Racing||2603|
|12||4||96||Brad Jones Racing||1922|
|13||3||Blanchard Racing Team||1050|
|14||888||Triple Eight Race Engineering||298|
|15||7||Blanchard Racing Team||162|
|16||98||Dick Johnson Racing||60|