How the Supercars Championship will be won in Adelaide
Sunday 19th November, 2023 - 6:00am
By this time next week, Brodie Kostecki could have clinched the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship title, in what is now a two-way fight with Shane van Gisbergen.
The Erebus Motorsport driver leads the winner of the previous two championship titles by 131 points with a maximum of 150 on offer in each of the two races at next weekend’s Vailo Adelaide 500.
Van Gisbergen is therefore an outside chance of a threepeat, and almost has to beat Kostecki in Saturday’s Race 27 of the season in order to keep his hopes alive.
Obviously, that is not quite so, but the Triple Eight Race Engineering driver can afford to cede no more than 18 points in the first race of the Adelaide weekend, given he also trails on the first tie-break of number of race wins – six to five – and the second tie-break of number of second place – eight to four.
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Given there are 650 results combinations in Race 27 alone (assuming all 25 cars take the start), we will look at the main scenarios, starting with van Gisbergen’s bare minimum Saturday result.
How van Gisbergen keeps the championship alive on Saturday
As noted above, the magic number for van Gisbergen come Saturday night is 149.
If Kostecki wins Race 27, van Gisbergen must finish second.
If Kostecki finishes second, van Gisbergen cannot afford to finish any lower than fourth.
If Kostecki finishes third, van Gisbergen cannot afford to finish any lower than fifth, and so on.
|Kostecki Race 27 finish position||van Gisbergen minimum result|
How Kostecki might clinch the championship on Sunday
If van Gisbergen does the bare minimum on Saturday, then obviously he needs to win on Sunday and rely on a DNF for Kostecki.
Ominously for #97, the Erebus driver has not failed to finish any race this year.
Typically, Kostecki finishes on the podium – 18 times out of 26 so far – and, unless some major drama has occurred, he has not been classified any worse than eighth in any race in the 2023 season.
There are plenty of hypotheticals, but, for now, we will stick with what Kostecki needs to do on Sunday if he finishes eighth or better on Saturday, assuming van Gisbergen finishes ahead of him in that Saturday race.
As we see in the table below, assuming even that van Gisbergen wins on Saturday and Kostecki finishes eighth, the latter would need only to finish ninth on Sunday to put matters beyond doubt, regardless of what the Triple Eight driver might do.
If van Gisbergen wins Race 27 and Kostecki finishes second, the latter need only finish 24th on the following day.
For any other scenario where he finishes one position behind van Gisbergen in Race 27, Kostecki then need only finish in Race 28 – as he has done in every race so far this year – to clinch a first championship.
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Ironically, if we want a very simple scenario, then it is this: Kostecki need finish only eighth in both races next weekend to beat the Triple Eight driver to the title.
If we do want to allow for different positions in each race then, as noted, it is eighth and ninth; something of a coincidence considering Erebus fields Cars #9 and #99.
|van Gisbergen Race 27 finish position||Kostecki Race 27 finish position||Kostecki Race 28 ‘clinch’ position|
Practice at the Vailo Adelaide 500 starts this Thursday.