Brodie Kostecki has secured the 2023 Supercars Championship after sole remaining contender Shane van Gisbergen was involved in a collision with Will Brown at Turn 4 on the opening lap of the Adelaide 500.
Sixth place for Kostecki was enough for him to claim the crown, but it was a quartet of Fords that stole the show, with Cam Waters leading home Penrite Racing’s David Reynolds, Tickford teammate Thomas Randle and Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert.
A double podium is a fitting reward for Tickford Team Principal Tim Edwards, who leaves the team at the end of the round to take up the Supercars General Manager of Motorsport role next season after 19 years in the outfit.
The championship was ultimately decided on Lap 1, with Van Gisbergen slow to get off the line from sixth and finding himself in a tight mid-field battle over the opening corners.
Kostecki got the best launch off the front row, leading into Turn 1 ahead of Reynolds, Randle, De Pasquale and his teammate, Brown. The latter two entered the right-hander Turn 4 side-by-side, with Brown on the outside and hitting the barriers hard.
An approaching van Gisbergen was left with nowhere to go, clipping the rear of the Erebus Camaro and sustaining damage on the front left that saw the car requiring assistance to return to the lane. Brown was also forced out with significant damage from the impacts.
De Pasquale also sustained steering damage from his contact with Brown, seeing him lose ground throughout the race.
Matt Payne was involved in a separate incident on the opening lap, nudging the wall at Turn 3 and losing several laps while the Penrite Racing team worked to repair a right-rear toe link.
Kostecki led off the restart, with Reynolds running second ahead of Randle, Waters, Mostert and Golding.
The order remained until Lap 15, where a good run down the back straight saw Reynolds take the lead up the inside at Turn 9.
Randle followed through shortly after before Reynolds slowly began to increase his lead ahead of the opening round of stops.
The Penrite Racing driver returned to the lead following his stop but had Randle and Waters right behind, the latter jumping an earlier-stopping Kostecki, who sat fourth.
A Lap 37 pass on Randle saw Waters take second, and he would pass Reynolds for the lead four circuits later, with the three running nose-to-tail for several laps until the second round of stops began.
As one of the last to box, Reynolds exited the lane alongside the approaching Waters, with the pair running side-by-side through the opening chicane before the Tickford entry took the front, with Randle retaining third but dropping several seconds behind the pair.
With 20 laps to run, Kostecki remained fourth, 10 seconds off the leading trio of Fords and 2.5 seconds ahead of Mostert, who had traded places with Broc Feeney twice over the previous circuits.
Will Davison sat seventh behind Feeney and ahead of James Courtney and Andre Heimgartner, who had each gained eight places off their starting spot. Scott Pye and Mark Winterbottom sat 10th and 11th, having gained ten positions each.
Mostert hunted down Kostecki with 13 laps to run, making for a Ford top four, as Waters slowly built a gap on Reynolds and Randle entering the closing stages.
Feeney would also pass and catch the championship leader in the closing laps.
Waters got to the chequered flag with a one-second advantage, having backed off over the final two laps, with Reynolds finishing second and Randle third.
Davison came home behind Kostecki in seventh, ahead of Courtney and Heimgartner, the best of the Kiwis in ninth. Pye rounded out the top ten.
Supercars returns for one final race tomorrow, beginning with qualifying at 12.45 pm and followed by the Top 10 Shootout at 2.35 pm and season-finale at 5.15 pm.