Broc Feeney has stormed to the second Supercars victory of his career in this afternoon’s final race in Melbourne, topping Andre Heimgartner and Brodie Kostecki, who rounded out the podium places.
Defending champion Shane van Gisbergen was fifth to cross the line, behind Bryce Fullwood, but a 15-second unsafe release penalty relegated Fullwood down the order and promoted van Gisbergen to fourth.
Matt Payne rounded out the Kiwi contingent, finishing 12th and as the top rookie in the field.
A rolling start brought the race into action, Supercars’ determining this as an appropriate method to minimise the risk of fire which has dampened both of the last two races.
Yesterday’s fire meant James Courtney was ruled out of action due to the damage sustained, but Mark Winterbottom, Macauley Jone and Anton de Pasquale were able to return following their crashes.
Only 1 point separated Kostecki and van Gisbergen in the fight for the Larry Perkins Trophy at the venue, setting the scene for a fierce mid-field battle with the Kiwi starting 12th and yesterday’s winner starting 14th.
Feeney was in a prime position off pole, given the single file rolling start, taking the lead into Turn 1 over Mostert, Brown and Heimgartner.
Mostert immediately put the pressure on at the front and took the lead by going around the outside at Turn 5. Brown was able to follow through to take second and put the pole-sitter to third by the end of the second lap.
Jack Le Brocq passed Heimgartner on track, only for the Kiwi to follow Feeney into the lane as soon as the pit window opened at the end of Lap 2.
Van Gisbergen had gained two spots before the window opened, as had Kostecki, the duo slowly working through the field towards the front.
Bryce Fullwood had moved into third following Feeney’s early stop, the BJR competitor displaying great pace and setting the fastest lap on Lap 3.
Shell V-Power’s issues in pit lane continued following Davison’s penalty for an unsafe release yesterday, this time de Pasquale the guilty party and copping a 15-second penalty for his efforts.
As this was announced, Brown tried to pass Mostert for the lead on Lap 4, running off-line on the dirty part of the track and spinning unassisted. He turned across the track to make light contact with the inside wall. However, an intervention wasn’t required as Brown was able to limp to the lane to retire with steering damage.
Fullwood was able to pass Mostert for the lead on Lap 8, the leading duo among only nine cars that had yet to pit. Van Gisbergen was also in this mix, as were Davison, Le Brocq, Randle, Payne and Winterbottom.
Of the drivers who had stopped, Feeney was charging forward and setting the fastest laps each time around, with Heimgartner in close pursuit.
Davison was able to pass Mostert for second on Lap 9, with van Gisbergen following through, the Kiwi also picking off Davison a few corners later to sit second on the track.
Mostert continued to drop places as his tyres faded, first to Le Brocq and then to Randle and Payne to sit seventh in the pack, which had not yet stopped.
Fullwood continued to show great pace up front and had built a 1.5-second lead over van Gisbergen. The defending champion made up time on the penultimate lap before the lap pitters finally came to serve their compulsory stops at the beginning of the final lap.
Running long didn’t prove an effective strategy; Feeney the first to emerge from the lane but forced to fall in behind Feeney, Heimgartner and Kostecki.
To compound his misery, Fullwood was also awarded a 15-second time penalty for an unsafe release when he was put into the path of Winterbottom as he entered his box.
Feeney held the top spot for his second-ever race victory, with Heimgartner finishing second and Kostecki winning the Larry Perkins Trophy in third and also with the championship lead.
Van Gisbergen was promoted to fourth following Fullwood’s penalty, while Le Brocq was rewarded with fifth after continuing to impress this season.
Davison was the first of the Mustang’s home in sixth, one spot ahead of Jones, whilst David Reynolds, Todd Hazlewood and Cam Waters rounded out the top 10.
Supercars next returns with the Perth SuperSprint at the end of this month.
Header Image: Red Bull Ampol Racing