Shane Van Gisbergen prevails in fiery Watpac Townsville 400

Shane van Gisbergen leads under caution
Shane van Gisbergen leads under caution

Shane van Gisbergen prevailed in an insane Supercars race on the streets of Townsville punctuated by mid-race rain chaos and a raging pit lane fire.

The Kiwi wet tracker scored his second win of the year after a crazy race which had more slip and slide than Queensland sun in the second leg of the Watpac Townsville 400.

A pit lane fire sparked from a broken fuel hose meant the race finished under safety car with Van Gisbergen prevailing over Fabian Coulthard and Cameron Waters.

Championship leader Scott McLaughlin fell foul of the wet conditions in a bingle with David Reynolds on the very first corner, his race then becoming a salvage job to climb back to 14th.

Van Gisbergen benefited from young Waters needing a late pit stop which ruined a significant lead while Coulthard stayed in the game from fifth to finish on the podium.

Whincup crashed out
Whincup crashed out

It was a game of strategy as teams battled the changing conditions. The race started in light drizzle with cars on dry tires before the heavens opened just before the halfway point.

“It has been a tough year for us, but we are getting better," Van Gisbergen said.

“That one wasn’t me, that was the boys there. I was really struggling to keep my head when we didn’t have the grip. They kept it under control and kept me focused, that’s a real team victory."

When the rain hit at just under the halfway mark Waters had the lead as the field jumped in for wet tires. He held Van Gisbergen at bay for six laps until leaving the track at the second corner, allowing the Kiwi and Coulthard to slip by.

Checkered flies under caution
Checkered flies under caution

Nick Percat’s Elite Roads Racing pit bay burst into flames as he came in for a fuel top-up when a fuel hose broke. As the car dropped a spark ignited a fireball which was quickly extinguished by his team.

Percat got to pit exit with flames licking out of his boot. Quick thinking from the Red Bull Holden Racing Team and Shell V-Power from the closest garages doused the flames within seconds.

Seven-time Champion Jamie Whincup also caused a safety car when he lost control on a slippery kerb and slammed into a wall opposite. With heavy front-end damage, he couldn’t crawl back to pit lane and needed to be rescued by recovery crews.

Van Gisbergen celebrates on podium
Van Gisbergen celebrates on podium

McLaughlin’s dice with Reynolds cost him a solid chunk of points, narrowing the Championship lead to 292 points from Coulthard. Van Gisbergen now sits in third with Mostert in fourth.

Reynold’s dropped from third to fifth following the clash with McLaughlin which ended in him the last of the finishers in 20th.

Today's result means McLaughlin now leads the Championship 292 points from Coulthard with van Gisbergen 499 points behind the leader.

Teams will now turn their attention to the ninth round of the championship, the Century Batteries Ipswich SuperSprint which will run at Queensland Raceway from 26-28 July.

Results: Race 18, Watpac Townsville 400

Pos Num Driver Car Laps
1 97 Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 64
2 333 Fabian Coulthard Ford Mustang GT 64
3 6 Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT 64
4 99 Anton De Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 64
5 55 Chaz Mostert Ford Mustang GT 64
6 100 Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 64
7 34 James Golding Holden Commodore ZB 64
8 5 Lee Holdsworth Ford Mustang GT 64
9 33 Michael Caruso Holden Commodore ZB 64
10 78 Simona De Silvestro Nissan Altima 64
11 17 Scott McLaughlin Ford Mustang GT 64
12 14 Tim Slade Holden Commodore ZB 64
13 22 James Courtney Holden Commodore ZB 63
14 19 Jack Le Brocq Holden Commodore ZB 63
15 7 Andre Heimgartner Nissan Altima 63
16 2 Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 63
17 35 Todd Hazelwood Holden Commodore ZB 63
18 21 Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB 63
19 8 Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 63
20 9 David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 60
21 23 Will Davison Ford Mustang GT 51
DNF 3 Garry Jacobson Nissan Altima 59
DNF 18 Mark Winterbottom Holden Commodore ZB 47
DNF 88 Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 18

Championship Points

Pos Driver Pts
1 Scott McLaughlin 2168
2 Fabian Coulthard 1876
3 Shane van Gisbergen 1669
4 Chaz Mostert 1640
5 David Reynolds 1634
6 Jamie Whincup 1528
7 Cameron Waters 1396
8 Nick Percat 1321
9 Will Davison 1274
10 Lee Holdsworth 1224
11 Anton De Pasquale 1200
12 Tim Slade 1149
13 James Courtney 1123
14 Mark Winterbottom 1093
15 Andre Heimgartner 1076
16 Scott Pye 973
17 Todd Hazelwood 937
18 Rick Kelly 927
19 James Golding 875
20 Simona De Silvestro 838
21 Macauley Jones 675
22 Jack Le Brocq 667
23 Garry Jacobson 623
24 Richie Stanaway 482
25 Jack Smith 219
26 Chris Pither 159
27 Michael Caruso 123
28 Tim Blanchard 93

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