Whincup spent the last few laps of the race – which you can watch on the clip in this article – getting roughed up by the increasingly-impressive New Zealander, who harried the Holden driver across the line as the duo rubbed panels in their quest for race victory.
As van Gisbergen tried every trick in the book to get by, Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom kept a close watching brief in third place, no doubt hoping to capitalise on any slip-up between the pair ahead. James Courtney brought his Ford home in fourth place, somewhat atoning for being stripped of a certain win in the first race (when he was issued a drive-through penalty).
Much of van Gisbergen’s success had to be put down to his co-driver John McIntyre, who drove a great opening stint of the race to give the Stone Brothers-run Ford the prospect of a win, which would have been the pair’s first-ever V8 Supercars win.
The race start had seen Winterbottom’s co-driver Luke Youdlen – who had been an instigator in the collision with Jacques Villeneuve in the first race this weekend – to cede an immediate lead to the sister car of Steven Richards and play the role of rear gunner.
But it all went pear-shaped when Richards pitted from the lead to make the compulsory driver change, only to find co-driver Will Power completely unprepared and half-suited up to race. The bungled pit stop also screwed Youlden’s race, as he was stacked behind Richards and had to queue until the pit bay was eventually cleared so he could swap with Winterbottom.
But Winterbottom put in another sterling effort to recover after their slow stop. He pulled a good pass on Courtney with only eight laps to run, and then set about closing up on the Whincup / van Gisbergen battle for the lead. Had he have had more laps in which to do it, he might well have had a genuine shot at a race win.
Coming in fifth was the combination of Paul Dumbrell and Jacques Villeneuve, with the 1997 F1 champion engaged in a little more ‘elbows out’ driving in his opening stint, but at least managed to keep all four wheels pointing in the same direction this time before handing over to Dumbrell.
Several of the other international drivers showed well in their second outing the on shortened Surfers Paradise street circuit, with Andy Priaulx and Dario Franchitti each running as high as second overall before they handed over to their respective co-drivers.
Multiple ChampCar title-winner Sébastien Bourdais again showed well in his maiden V8 Supercars outing, but he blotted his copybook by overshooting his pit bay and then reversing back towards his pit crew – an act that earned him a drive-through penalty for his efforts.
And with over 170,000 fans attending the three-day event, organisers are committing to a similar race arrangement for next season’s event, although they will be aiming for a full compliment of 29 international drivers to pair up with the field’s usual grid make-up. Certainly the timing of next year’s event – to fall on a weekend between Formula 1 Grands Prix – might entice a few more former F1 drivers to take a look.
Race 2 Final Classification (102 laps):