Clever van Gisbergen wins Supercars Race 28 at Pukekohe

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen has won Race 28 of the Repco Supercars Championship at Pukekohe after a clever manoeuvre to nullify the threat of Will Davison.

The Red Bull Ampol Racing driver eased the # 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team entry wide at the Hairpin just after an early restart, a trick which cost Davison two positions.

From there, the top four effectively remained the same in the second race of the ITM Auckland SuperSprint, with van Gisbergen heading home Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert (# 25 Mobil 1 Optus ZB Commodore), Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters (# 50 Monster Energy Mustang ), and Davison.

The margin of victory was 2.3985s after a time-certain 36 laps, the race running five laps short due to an early red flag to fix the wall at pit entry after Mark Winterbottom put Will Brown off the road on a chaotic first lap.

With van Gisbergen also picking up the fastest lap bonus points, his drivers’ championship lead over Waters is a huge 512 points.

The New Zealander had converted pole position into the initial race lead as Davison rounded up the other front row starter, Broc Feeney (# 88 Red Bull Ampol ZB Commodore).

A little further back, Anton De Pasquale was in a drag race with David Reynolds (# 26 Penrite Mustang) for sixth as they ran up the back ‘straight’, and got held wide as they turned into the chicane complex.

He was in the wall and out of the race when he tangled with Brodie Kostecki (# 99 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore) exiting the Turn 6 left-hander, resulting in race-ending damage to the # 11 Shell V-Power Mustang.

After a Safety Car was called, red flags were unfurled because Kostecki’s Erebus Motorsport team-mate Brown (# 9 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore) had ended up in the wall next to pit entry in a heavy, side-on hit.

Winterbottom (# 18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore) would be handed a pit lane penalty for a driving infringement having sent Brown off the road.

After a delay of about 20 minutes, the race restarted on Lap 6, with Mostert in third having nabbed the place from Feeney just before the Safety Car was called, while Waters sat fifth, from Scott Pye (# 20 Nulon ZB Commodore) and Reynolds .

Van Gisbergen held them all the way until about Row 8 of the grid boxes before launching, but Davison stuck with him.

However, when they arrived at the Hairpin, the race leader sucked in his Dick Johnson Racing adversary by slowing more than usual, showing him the outside line, then easing him wide on exit.

Mostert passed Car # 17 and Waters also made the overtake on Davison as they ran through the final corners, with a bit of contact along the way, while Feeney dropped a handful of positions when he touched the dirt entering the main ‘straight’.

Van Gisbergen was a full second to the good on Lap 12 while Waters pitted from third at about 2.8s from the race lead on Lap 16 for working side tires.

Mostert and Davison were both into the lane for the same on Lap 17, with van Gisbergen stopping a lap later for working side rubber, perhaps in response to Nick Percat (# 2 Mobil 1 NTI ZB Commodore) going off and hitting the barriers at Turn 3 / Turn 4.

They resumed largely as you were, with van Gisbergen heading Mostert, Waters, Davison, Pye, and Andre Heimgartner (# 8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore) in the effective top six.

That was the official top six when Lee Holdsworth (# 10 Penrite Mustang) brought an end to the compulsory pit stop cycle on Lap 26, at which time Car # 97 was 1.2s up on Car # 25.

Van Gisbergen pulled away over the next 10 laps to score another win on home soil, from Mostert, Waters, Davison, Pye, Heimgartner, Reynolds, Feeney, Jake Kostecki (# 56 Tradie Mustang), and James Golding (# 31 Subway ZB Commodore ).

Winterbottom got home 22nd, last of the finishers, but nearly stole the fastest lap points on the final lap after taking his pit stop just two laps from home.

The final ever Supercars race at Pukekohe Park Raceway is scheduled to start at 16:10 local time / 14: 10 AEST, with Davison on pole position.

Results to follow