Shane van Gisbergen starts 2022 as he means to continue, winning the first Supercars race of the season in Sydney.
The Kiwi pulled off a three-stop strategy, pitting one more time than most in the field en route to a comfortable victory.
He overtook polesitter Anton de Pasquale with ten laps remaining on fresher tyres before running away to be 20 seconds ahead at the chequered flag.
“Awesome job by the team,” he said. “It’s awesome. [The team] has had some big changes, but it feels the same.
“Great way to start but there is a still long way to go. So, we can’t get ahead of ourselves.”
Van Gisbergen now has 55 career wins. One more will tie him with Scott McLaughlin and Garth Tander as the fourth most winningest driver in series history.
De Pasquale went for the traditional two-stop strategy, which he admits was not the fastest way to go about things tonight.
“[Red Bull] threw different card than what we did and got a reward for it,” he said.
“But, overall, I am very happy with a podium.”
There was plenty of hype about Dunlop’s new Super Soft tyre compound ahead of the race. Drivers would have to use both the Super Soft and the Softs during the race.
Some, like de Pasquale, opted to run the faster compound earlier. Whereas others like van Gisbergen waited until near the end of the race.
Chaz Mostert was one of just four drivers in the field to delay fitting the Super Softs until their very last stint. The move paid big dividends, and Mostert made a late charge to finish on the podium.
“It’s a really positive result for the team,” Mostert said.
“Qualifying is still our nemesis, but I am happy with that third.”
Andre Heimgartner couldn’t convert his fourth-place starting position into a competitive result, eventually finishing P15.
He was one of the few drivers to start on the Super Softs, meaning he spent all of the final two-thirds of the race on slower rubber.
An unscheduled pitstop for a fuel top-up with two laps remaining demoted Heimgartner outside the top ten.
Only one driver was classified as a DNF. Scott Pye retired on lap 8 with a power steering failure.
There was plenty of pre-race chatter about the potential for rain to hit at some point. However, the circuit remained dry for the entire 300kms.
Another 77-lapper is in store for the 25-strong field tomorrow, with that race having an earlier start time at 4.30 pm NZT.
- Shane van Gisbergen
- Anton de Pasquale
- Chaz Mostert
- Will Davison
- Brodie Kostecki
- Nick Percat
- Will Brown
- Tim Slade
- Broc Feeney
- James Courtney
- Cam Waters
- Bryce Fullwood
- Jack Le Brocq
- Todd Hazelwood
- Andre Heimgartner
- Mark Winterbottom
- Jack Smith
- Garry Jacobson
- Jake Kostecki
- Thomas Randle
- Lee Holdsworth
- Macauley Jones
- Chris Pither
- David Reynolds
- Scott Pye