Shane van Gisbergen has overcome all the odds to win race three of the Repco Supercars Championship at Sandown, keeping his perfect race winning record this season alive.
Coming into the weekend with a broken collarbone, van Gisbergen could only salvage 17th in qualifying after an error on his sole flying lap.
However, driving with unprecedented levels of determination, van Gisbergen overtook Cam Waters on the 36th and final lap to claim the chequered flag first. It is a historic win for the Kiwi as, until today, no one had started lower than 17th and won a Supercars sprint race.
“Nobody in the history of this game has ever won a championship race, in a sprint Race format, from that far back on the grid. It’s a historic win for van Gisbergen,” said commentator Mark Skaife.
Having scythed towards the front gaggle of cars over the opening few laps, Van Gisbergen was the last driver in the field to make his compulsory pitstop. The overcut strategy payed big dividends for the Red Bull crew, and the No.97 was released back onto the track in seventh.
What followed was a one-by-one pick off by van Gisbergen as he made the most of his superior tyre life to work his way past the front runners. A highlight move saw him pass both Chaz Mostert and Jamie Whincup in one corner on lap 34 to snatch second.
Mostert had started from pole but made the unfortunate decision to pit early. That left him unable to fight over the backstages and despite leading for most of the race, he would end up sixth.
Some adamant defence by Waters over the penultimate lap set up an exciting final tour. Yet, van Gisbergen would skate ahead into turn one.
“Hopefully that was a good show to watch,” van Gisbergen said.
“I didn’t know how I would go over the distance, and I am no sorer than I was before. So, we will see how we go tomorrow.”
Whincup would end up third, ahead of Mark Winterbottom, who has finished fourth in two of the first three races this season.
Anton de Pasquale crossed the line in fifth and was the lead Dick Johnson Racing machine. His teammate Will Davison retired late in the race with an overheating car.
Nick Percat was seventh with Andre Heimgartner the second Kiwi home in eighth. The two experienced a close moment along the back straight, making light contact as the tussled for position.
James Courtney was ninth, while Jack Le Brocq couldn’t capitalise on his top-five qualifying result and ended up tenth.
Bryce Fullwood’s horrid Saturday came to an abrupt end on lap one when he buried himself in the sand at turn 4, resulting in the race’s only safety car.
Tomorrow will see the Supercars field have two races, the first scheduled to begin at 3.30 pm NZT.
With rain forecasted on the weather radar, expect another exciting day of action.
|1||Shane van Gisbergen||45:57.0639|
|5||Anton De Pasquale||46:01.7227|
|10||Jack Le Brocq||46:11.8490|