A chaotic race in Adelaide this evening has resulted in a one-two for Walkinshaw Andretti United, Chaz Mostert taking victory over teammate Nick Percat to begin Holden’s farewell weekend in style.
The two ran very different races, Mostert constantly battling within the top 10 whilst Percat worked his way forward from 20th on the grid. They were pushed to work hard by James Courtney, the veteran bouncing back from a tough past few rounds for a podium finish.
They were helped with timely interventions, a number of Safety Cars and other incidents working in their favor whilst impacting other contenders, including Shane van Gisbergen who hit the wall twice, the second of which triggered a caution and damaged his car.
Scott Pye and Cam Waters were also caught up in the drama, the two emerging as key contenders early but failing to fire through the mid-stages and getting caught up in accidents.
As a result of the continuous interruptions, no driver was able to pull away and establish a major gap, strategy and clean running the key to Walkinshaw’s success.
The pressure was on van Gisbergen in his back row start, the series champion tipped to work his way through the field and back into contention. He began the narrative as expected, working his way forward at a rate of knots, briefly taking the lead as the field took their first stops.
The early battle up front was between Waters and Pye, the two separated by just seconds with Heimgartner running third some 10 seconds down the road before pit strategy came into play.
They appeared as the drivers to beat early, a display of epic pace and an excellent racing lines putting them a class above the field. This was to be short lived for both of them.
A number of competitors were troubled early, the wing mirror destruction counter in overdrive as drivers worked to get the most out of the freshly resurfaced circuit.
Waters and Pye weren’t immune to these difficulties, the former running into the Turn 11 exit tyre barrier whilst the latter ran long into the hairpin that very same lap.
Come mid-race the first Safety Car was required, Jack Le Brocq understeering at Turn 11 and getting stuck under the tyre barrier. The field made the most of the caution, boxing in their entirety with the exception of Chris Pither and Lee Holdsworth who took the net top two of the race.
The Lap 40 restart saw van Gisbergen working his way forward from just outside the top 10 until he went straight into the Turn 6 tyre wall after clipping Mostert who was on the inside. He managed to reverse out but dropped back to a measly 21st.
Pither continued to lead for multiple laps with Holdsworth close behind, a leading procession of two drivers who won’t be in the series next year only appropriate.
The Kiwi was the first of the two to box, Holdsworth following not long after.
It didn’t take long for carnage to resume, Pither running into the concrete on cold tyres to return to the lane with damage under his own power.
Van Gisbergen was also in the wars at this point, a crash at Turn 11 almost identical to Le Brocqs. The Kiwi, however, was able to remove his car from under the barriers but only after a Safety Car had been called.
A quick caution period saw running back underway for a brief period, Todd Hazlewood the next driver out of contention after a tap from Waters. He went into the wall to be collected by a following Will Brown, the third Safety Car of the day required to remove the damaged car from the circuit.
The crash was deemed to have been caused by Waters who had lost several spots the corner before, including to Hazlewood, and went to dive up the inside on Turn 5 to make the contact. He received a drive through penalty for his efforts.
The restart saw Mostert in prime position with Heimgartner close behind, giving some hope to Kiwi fans. That was short-lived, Percat working his way through followed by Courtney, Pye, Fullwood and several others.
Heimgartner stopped his fall back just inside the top 10, the heat of the day said to be causing body cramps for him inside the car.
Ahead, however, Pye and Fullwood came into low-speed contact entering the back straight, the power steering on Pye’s Commodore compromised bringing his withdrawal. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Adelaide local, after a promising start put him up front as a true contender.
Mostert was clean to hold onto the win ahead of his teammate, a fitting result for Holden with the original Holden Racing Team (now Walkinshaw Andretti United) with the one-two result. Courtney rounded out the podium.
Brodie Kostecki was fourth ahead of Tim Slade, Mark Winterbottom, Will Davison and Broc Feeney respectively.
Heimgartner was the best placed Kiwi in ninth whilst Pither and van Gisbergen both returned from their damage for 19th and 20th respectively.
The series returns to the track tomorrow with qualifying and a Top 10 Shootout preceding the final race of 2022.
Header Image: Mark Horsburgh | Credit: Mark Horsburgh/EDGE Photographic.