On the 10-year anniversary of his first victory in the series in Hamilton, Shane van Gisbergen has grabbed his sixth consecutive race Supercars race win for 2021; the 46th win of his career in the category.
Van Gisbergen dominated the majority of the race, losing the lead briefly early on before charging back to first and creating an insurmountable margin for the rest of the field. Jamie Whincup and Anton De Pasquale completed the podium, the former finishing 4.7-seconds off the race lead.
The opening lap was a very entertaining one. Waters got one up on van Gisbergen in getting the better jump and taking the lead. Van Gisbergen slipped to third behind teammate Jamie Whincup and appeared vulnerable to Chaz Mostert, only to steal back the position at the end of the back straight.
Barring a lap three retirement for Nick Percat, capping off a torrid day for the BJR driver, the early phase was relatively accident free. Having dispatched Whincup, van Gisbergen quickly set about hunting Waters, bringing Whincup and Mostert with him. By the end of lap nine, van Gisbergen was back in the lead by virtue of another back-straight pass under brakes. By lap 13, van Gisbergen had a comfortable 1.5-second margin.
Will Davison was the first to peel out of the queue for his compulsory pit stop on lap 11, taking on two new rear tyres. David Reynolds did the same a lap later, only to have a tardy stop after stalling and failing to reengage. The question was whether anyone in the bustling top-10 traffic would do the same soon to try and get an undercut.
Waters’ grip on second was relinquished at the end of lap 13. Once again at the infamous left-hander at the end of the back straight the action would unfold; Whincup getting by Waters and bringing Mostert with him, the latter having pumped into the back of the Red Bull Commodore, front tyres locked, somehow neither car coming off the track.
Whincup stopped on lap 17, Mark Winterbottom and Will Brown on lap 19, Waters on lap 21 (taking on two new right-hand side tyres, as opposed to new rears), and Mostert on lap 22. Van Gisbergen finally chose to stop on lap 25, taking on rear tyres like most of the rest of the pack and rejoining the track with a healthy gap over second place.
With some cars enduring a long opening stint before making their mandatory pit-stop, the field only corrected itself on lap 33. Van Gisbergen held a lead of over two seconds from Whincup, with Anton De Pasquale, Mostert, Davison, Waters, Winterbottom, Scott Pye, Brown, and Brodie Kostecki the top 10.
Mostert had come out from pit-lane behind the two Shell Mustangs, but as the early stopping DJR entries’ tyres got older, Mostert’s fresher tyres were able to attack. He quickly got by Davison, and his battle with De Pasquale was the closest among the lead group in the race’s dying laps.
But despite Mostert’s best efforts, there were no further changes at the pointy end. Van Gisbergen crossed the line with 4.7-seconds in hand over Whincup, with De Pasquale holding off Mostert for the last step of the podium. Davison, Waters, Winterbottom, Pye, Brown, and Brodie Kostecki rounded out the top 10.
|1||Shane van Gisbergen||44 laps|
|3||Anton De Pasquale||9.709|
|12||Jack Le Brocq||24.856|
|22||Andre Heimgartner||1 lap|
|23||Bryce Fullwood||1 lap|