Shane van Gisbergen has made it two wins on the trot by taking victory in this evening’s first of four races at the Melbourne SuperSprint.
It was an Erebus Racing two-three with Brodie Kostecki’s good early season form continuing for second whilst Will Brown was rewarded for a solid drive with third.
Van Gisbergen looked right at home in the Gen3 Camaro, putting any concerns caused by this morning’s practice crash behind him for a commanding win. He started well from third and quickly went about moving forward.
He was quickly up to second by moving past Kostecki who was locked in battle with Anton de Pasquale for the lead. Just two laps later he was able to pass de Pasquale with a tidy move up the inside at Turn 3 and from there he never looked back.
The race did feature one compulsory stop for all teams, but track evolution meant the majority of competitors didn’t make this until the penultimate lap. This included most of the leaders with de Pasquale the biggest loser with a slow wheel change resulting in him dropping several places.
Strategy and rule book interpretation was a determining factor in the podium places, Erebus and Red Bull both only changed two tyres during their stops due to the race being declared wet just before the start. This meant only two tyres were needed to be changed compared to four in dry conditions.
Even then, the rain held off to allow for a dry race but lingering drizzle triggered the declaration.
Van Gisbergen had built a 2.5-second lead before his stop which was ultimately enough for him to take the win over a fast-finishing Kostecki by half a second.
Broc Feeney was a benefactor from the closing stage stops and moved up to finish fourth, one spot ahead of championship leader Chaz Mostert.
De Pasquale’s early pace meant he could still hold sixth despite the slow stop. Cam Waters, Jack Le Broq, James Courtney, and Macauley Jones rounded out the top 10.
Matt Payne was the second-best Kiwi and top rookie in 13th overall whilst Heimgartner made inroads from a tough qualifying run to finish 17th.
Tim Slade was able to compete in the race following his major damage from this morning’s crash. He started from the pits and drove forward to finish 20th.
The incident-free race will relieve teams with fading light, drizzle, and a tight street circuit seeing the chances of a Safety Car high. That was not to be, drivers keeping clean to allow for some great racing.
Supercars return tomorrow evening with van Gisbergen starting on pole. The lights will go green at 4.55 pm with the race shown live on Sky Sport 5 (055).
Header Image: Supercars