Shane van Gisbergen’s daring double overtaking manoeuvre with three laps to go in yesterday’s Repco Supercars race at Sandown was what the Kiwi says won him the race.
The 31-year-old had methodically worked himself towards the leading group of cars from 17th on the grid, opting to be the last driver in the field to make his sole pitstop.
A reward for having persevered his tyre life across his first stint, van Gisbergen was able to pick off the top gaggle of cars in the dying stages to claim his third successive victory.
However, he would only get to erstwhile race leader Cam Waters on the final lap, with the Red Bull driver getting past both Chaz Mostert and Jamie Whincup in one move just two laps earlier.
That double overtake is what van Gisbergen credited as crucial to ensure he had sufficient time to catch and get ahead of Waters for the win.
“[It was] a bit of a risky move at Turn 2 and that’s what probably won the race,” van Gisbergen said.
“It probably wasn’t smart to make it three-wide, but being on the inside is the safest place, and it worked out quite well.
“I had a good first lap, saved the tyres, then started picking guys off.
“Everyone ran a bit longer than I thought they were going to, but it still worked for us.”
Pole sitter Mostert had made the unfortunate decision to pit early in the race. The plan was to remove himself from traffic and allowing the Walkinshaw Andretti United driver to undercut the entire field.
Despite setting some blistering lap times over the race’s middle stages, Mostert’s tyre life quickly deteriorated. Soon, he found himself struggling to keep those behind at bay, backing everyone up and gifting van Gisbergen some easy pickings.
“I saw Chaz was struggling and started backing everyone up, and he did, which was awesome,” van Gisbergen said.
Waters suggested post-race that not clearing the ailing Mostert sooner was what would end up costing him the win.
“Chaz was hurting, I could see that, but every time I got close to him, [Whincup] decided he wanted to have a crack at me,” said Waters. “Those three, four laps are what got Shane back in the race.
“We had so much fun, massive kudos to Shane for what he’s achieved with his shoulder. Massive respect. He deserved that race win, and he did everything he needed to do.”
Today the Supercars paddock will have two more races but could have to deal with some patches of rain over the day.
The first race of the day is scheduled to begin at 3.30 pm NZT, with a 60 per cent chance of precipitation forecasted for the same time.
Race five of the championship will then conclude the weekend with a start time slated for 6.30 pm.