Townsville Supercars: Van Gisbergen wins from 12th

Shane van Gisbergen converted a 12th place starting spot into a second consecutive race win on the streets of Townsville.

The Triple Eight driver set the foundation for the unlikely win with a fast start from the sixth row, capped off with a brave move on Scott McLaughlin for seventh place at the end of the first lap.

While McLaughlin bailed out of the battle early, pitting on Lap 7 for clear air, van Gisbergen went the other way. He didn’t stop until Lap 24, giving him poor track position, but great tyre condition, for the run home.

Initially it looked as if McLaughlin’s strategy was the winner, the Penske Ford driving undercutting everyone to come out in front. 

But a late Safety Car to retrieve Anton De Pasquale’s car from the Turn 6 barrier proved to be his undoing, bringing the likes of pole-sitter Todd Hazelwood, Jamie Whincup and van Gisbergen – who was ninth at the restart – back into the game.

When the race went green again nine laps from home McLaughlin still looked like he might have enough in the tank, particularly after holding off a brief challenge from Hazelwood.

But once the two Triple Eight cars cleared the Brad Jones Racing entry their pace was unleashed, Whincup letting van Gisbergen through four laps from home to have a crack at the leader.

It proved to be a shroud move, van Gisbergen not only using his superior grip to pass McLaughlin at Turn 12 on the same lap, but running the Mustang wide so that Whincup could sneak into second. 

With no team orders in play van Gisbergen was free to storm to victory, winning from further back on the grid than anybody’s ever managed in Townsville. 

“What an awesome race,” said van Gisbergen, who hadn’t won a race all season before today’s opener. 

“I had a great car. I got stuck in the first stint, but the Safety Car worked out perfectly. It was a big battle at the end trying to do the team thing to help Jamie.”

McLaughlin clung on to third despite a late challenge from Chaz Mostert, but was left unimpressed with van Gisbergen’s move.

“Shane was playing the team game there,” he said. “He’s made plenty of clean passes there over the years, and that was pretty average. Just a big push off at the end there. 

“I get that he’s playing the team game, but it would have been nice a bit more of a fair battle.”

McLaughlin still leads the series by 143 points over Whincup with just three events to go.

Scott Pye was a big mover once again, turning 17th on the grid into fifth, while Hazelwood went the other way, dropping back to sixth as the finish.

Nick Percat, who started alongside his teammate on the front row, came home seventh ahead of Fabian Coulthard, James Courtney and Lee Holdsworth.

Race results:

197 Shane van GisbergenHolden Commodore ZB 
288 Jamie WhincupHolden Commodore ZB 0.994
317 Scott McLaughlinFord Mustang GT 3.032
425 Chaz MostertHolden Commodore ZB 3.454
520 Scott PyeHolden Commodore ZB 6.837
614 Todd HazelwoodHolden Commodore ZB 7.660
78 Nick PercatHolden Commodore ZB 8.100
812 Fabian CoulthardFord Mustang GT 9.451
944 James CourtneyFord Mustang GT 10.015
105 Lee HoldsworthFord Mustang GT 12.073
119 David ReynoldsHolden Commodore ZB 12.078
126 Cameron WatersFord Mustang GT 13.085
1318 Mark WinterbottomHolden Commodore ZB 14.138
1455 Jack Le BrocqFord Mustang GT 14.712
1519 Alex DavisonHolden Commodore ZB 15.074
1615 Rick KellyFord Mustang GT 15.616
177 Andre HeimgartnerFord Mustang GT 16.084
182 Bryce FullwoodHolden Commodore ZB 17.151
193 Macauley JonesHolden Commodore ZB 18.346
2035 Garry JacobsonHolden Commodore ZB 19.361
214 Jack SmithHolden Commodore ZB 19.766
2234 Jake KosteckiHolden Commodore ZB 20.366
 99 Anton De PasqualeHolden Commodore ZB 
 22 Chris PitherHolden Commodore ZB 
View full results

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