Van Gisbergen victory caps memorable weekend in Townsville

Shane van Gisbergen
Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen held on for his third race victory of 2018 this afternoon to cap off a dominant weekend for the Red Bull Holden racing team at the Watpac Townsville 400.

After finishing second in yesterday’s race behind teammate Jamie Whincup, van Gisbergen went one better today, with Whincup second and championship leader Scott McLaughlin third. McLaughlin was also third yesterday behind the Red Bull Holden pair.

“Man it’s awesome. Thanks to the guys and girls at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, our cars were awesome all weekend," van Gisbergen said after the race.

"A good personal day for the 97 crew who turned our car around from qualifying to race and came out on top. As a team a double 1-2 is awesome. Ten years of Townsville, it’s an awesome track, can’t wait for the next one."

It was a fitting end to the 10th anniversary of the event attracted a crowd of 147,539 over three days, an increase of 3.55 per cent on 2017.

Van Gisbergen’s 27th career race victory looked to have been completed in a relatively uneventful race until late crashes made for a thrilling finish.

With just a handful of laps to go, Nissan’s Michael Caruso was bumped from behind into a tire wall by Erebus Motorsport rookie Anton de Pasquale. The incident brought out the Vodafone Safety Car for the first time in the race and bunched up the field.

Caruso walked away and following the restart there was another incident, when Will Davison who had been impressive throughout the race, went head on into a separate tire bundle after a collision with another rookie, Jack Le Brocq. Davison was uninjured and with just three laps to go the race finished without the safety car.

Earlier, van Gisbergen got the perfect start, out of the gates quickly ahead of David Reynolds and Rick Kelly who jumped out of the blocks from the second row to overtake Whincup in the opening stages.

Behind the leaders McLaughlin, who started from the unfamiliar position of 7th, narrowly avoided collision with several other cars at a tight first corner, but dropped back to 11th before the turn.

As Whincup did yesterday, van Gisbergen sped away from the pack to open a handy lead until the Shell V-Power Ford team of McLaughlin went for an early pit stop to undercut the leaders.

It helped McLaughlin to leapfrog from 10th into 2nd position and cut the Red Bull Holden’s lead out in front, but Whincup and van Gisbergen had a large enough gap to hold on for another memorable 1-2 victory for the Red Bull Holden Racing Team.

Whincup said it was a great race until the end.

“A poor start and that put us behind the eight ball. There was no team orders and no cruising to the end. I pushed him hard, if there was a gap I would have taken it but he did unbelievably well."

McLaughlin said he was unhappy with his own driving performance, and credited his team for the podium finish.

“I didn’t do anything. All the guys and girls at Shell V-Power Racing gave me an awesome strategy, the tire life was fantastic. I will take that today, that’s a good result for us."

The result means McLaughlin’s championship lead over second placed van Gisbergen has been cut to 131-points while Whincup made significant strides this weekend as he looks to defend his 2017 title.

The defending Champion now sits 403-points behind McLaughlin in fourth position, third is Reynolds and fifth is Craig Lowndes.

The next round of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will be the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint, which will run at Queensland Raceway from 20-22 July.

Results

POS No. DRIVER TEAM Behind
1 97 Van Gisbergen Red Bull Holden Racing Australia +0.000s
2 1 Whincup Red Bull Holden Racing Australia +0.782
3 17 McLaughlin Shell V-Power Racing Team +8.534
4 888 Lowndes Team Vortex +9.312
5 55 Mostert Supercheap Auto Racing +9.877
6 9 Reynolds Erebus Motorsport +11.278
7 15 R. Kelly Nissan Motorsport +13.182
8 12 Coulthard Shell V-Power Racing Team +13.409
9 6 C. Waters Monster Energy Racing +14.102
10 25 Courtney Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing +15.233
11 19 J. Le Brocq TEKNO Woodstock Racing +16.400
12 7 Heimgartner Nissan Motorsport +17.125
13 5 Winterbottom The Bottle-O Racing Team +17.424
14 8 Percat Brad Jones Racing +17.826
15 14 Slade Brad Jones Racing +18.729
16 18 Holdsworth Preston Hire Racing +19.160
17 34 J. Golding Wilson Security Racing GRM +19.691
18 99 A. de Pasquale Erebus Motorsport +21.581
19 33 Tander Wilson Security Racing GRM +1 Lap
20 56 R. Stanaway Tickford Racing +1 Lap
21 2 S. Pye Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing +1 Lap
22 78 S. De Silvestro Nissan Nismo +1 Lap
23 35 T. Hazelwood Bigmate Racing +1 Lap
24 21 Blanchard CoolDrive Racing +2 Laps
NC 230 Davison Milwaukee Racing +3 Laps
NC 23 Caruso Nissan Nismo +10 Laps

Drivers Championship Driver Points Behind
1. Scott McLaughlin 2033 -0
2. Shane Van Gisbergen 1902 -131
3. David Reynolds 1646 -387
4. Jamie Whincup 1630 -403
5. Craig Lowndes 1602 -431
6. Fabian Coulthard 1430 -603
7. Scott Pye 1384 -649
8. Rick Kelly 1372 -661
9. Chaz Mostert 1286 -747
10. Tim Slade 1236 -797
Team Championship Team Pts Behind
1. Triple Eight Race Engineering (Whincup/SVG) 3532 -0
2. Shell V-Power Racing Team 3463 -69
3. Walkinshaw Andretti United 2620 -912
4. Erebus Motorsport 2497 -1035
5. Tickford Racing (Mostert/Winterbottom) 2455 -1077
6. Brad Jones Racing 2448 -1084
7. Nissan Motorsport (Kelly/Heimgartner) 2286 -1246
8. Garry Rogers Motorsport 1760 -1772
9. NISMO (Caruso/De Silvestro) 1664 -1868
10. Triple Eight Race Engineering (Lowndes) 1602 -1930

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