Race 18 of the Repco V8 Supercars Championship began under a typically hot 26° North Queensland sun.
The 2.8km Townsville circuit action was also red hot from the flag with a Red Bull front row and Whincup leading off from Pole Position.
Monster Energy Racing’s Cameron Waters had an uncharacteristic poor start and dropped to 9th.
Nick Percat was the big loser on the opening lap, getting tagged in Turn 3 on Lap 1, dropping to last.
Unfortunately for Tim Slade, he was forced to start last due to losing a wheel and not posting a qualifying time. He managed to recover well, gaining 12 spots to P12 after the 39 laps.
Slade was first to pit on Lap 6, followed closely by Coulthard who was nursing LF damage after contact early.
Van Gisbergen pitted on Lap 18 to take rear tyres only, compared to Whincup who took three tyres one lap earlier.
This netted SVG a 4s gain and produced a spirited exchange between the Red Bull team mates which had even Roland Dane animated about the outcome, Dane remarking his guys are here to race hard but fairly, and as long as they don’t cop a penalty for blocking…it’s OK.
By Lap 15, less than half the field had made their regulation pit stops as teams decided to run longer to try and save good tyres for Race 19 this afternoon.
Chaz Mostert pitted on Lap 20 and fitted 2 rear bags and rejoined in 3rd until the finish. Shell V-Power driver Will Davison had a crack at Mostert on the final lap, but a damaged RF tyre prevented him from stealing the final spot on the podium.
The big movers through the field were Tim Slade, who netted 12 places and Anton De Pasquale (Shell V-Power Racing) who moved 6 places to end up 8th.
Zane Goddard was forced to retire after receiving a mechanical black flag for a failed power steering system which dropped oil on the circuit.
Will Brown was also forced to retire on Lap 28 with a broken steering column after a great display of raw speed from the young Erebus driver.
Even with extremely hot temperatures and higher tyre degradation as a result, the fastest-lap-of-the-day award belonged to Shane van Gisbergen on worn tyres on Lap 15 with a 1:13.908.
So another 1-2 for the Red Bull Ampol Racing pairing of SVG and Jamie Whincup, with Mostert making up the podium.
This result rewards van Gisbergen with another 100 points toward his tally as he charges toward a second V8 Supercar Championship. Whincup still retains his 2nd place in the championship, with Mostert in third place.
The final race of the weekend kicks off at 5:40pm
|1||Shane van Gisbergen|
|8||Anton De Pasquale|
|18||Jack Le Brocq|