In circumstances strangely similar to Race 1 winner Rick Kelly, van Gisbergen also started from 12th place. The New Zealander steadily worked his way up the order and – unlike Kelly’s inheritance of the race win, which came about when the frontrunners collided – staged a late surge to overtake the leaders in the closing stages of the race.
With the rules for today’s 69-lap requiring the drivers to use both the ‘prime’ and ‘sprint’ Dunlop tyres during the race, the teams opted for a range of differing strategies to afford them the best advantage during the race.
Lee Holdsworth and Jamie Whincup were two drivers who opted to use the softer ‘sprint’ tyres during the opening stint of the race, and for Holdsworth, it worked a treat as he quickly moved into the lead. By contrast, Whincup fluffed his start from the front row, dropping to fifth, which was all the invitation Holdsworth needed to make a quick break.
Jason Bright’s wretched luck at Darwin continued, and the Team BOC driver made it a double-DNF when his engine blew on the eleventh lap. The resultant oil slick created a few scares for other drivers, and the Safety Car was deployed while the mess was cleaned up.
By this stage, Whincup was back up to second place, and the order shuffled around as the various pit and tyre strategies started to become evident. By half-distance, Holdsworth and Whincup had fought their way to the front, with Whincup emerging ahead in the lead.
As the race wound down, Whincup led from Holdsworth, with Craig Lowndes, Mark Winterbottom and van Gisbergen all in hot pursuit and all running on the softer ‘sprint’ compound.
Lowndes had passed Holdsworth for second place, shortly before Karl Reindler had a heavy crash that brought out another safety car interruption.
Racing resumed with just seven laps to go, and Lowndes quickly set about passing his team-mate for the lead. Whincup’s tyres were starting to fade, and Winterbottom and van Gisbergen quickly moved by to push him down to fourth place.
With five laps to go, van Gisbergen took second place from Winterbottom and then closed down Lowndes, passing the Team Vodafone driver for the lead with three laps left. From there on, he held off Lowndes, Winterbottom and a rapid Tim Slade for victory, with the top-four covered by just 2.1 seconds after almost 90 minutes of racing.
Russell Ingall also staged a late charge to finish fifth, while Whincup faded to sixth and Holdsworth slumped to 15th.
V8 Supercars SkyCity Triple Crown Final Classification (Race 2 – 69 laps):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Result|
|1.||Shane van Gisbergen||SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing||1:27:04.3716|
|2.||Craig Lowndes||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Race Engineering||+ 0.8939|
|3.||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing||+ 1.7301|
|4.||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 2.1758|
|5.||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto / Paul Morris Motorsport||+ 5.0776|
|6.||Jamie Whincup||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Race Engineering||+ 7.2026|
|7.||Will Davison||Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing||+ 7.8132|
|8.||Alex Davison||Irwin / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 10.7096|
|9.||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 11.3049|
|10.||Jason Bargwanna||Jana Living / Brad Jones Racing||+ 12.9899|
|11.||Paul Dumbrell||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash||+ 13.1486|
|12.||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 14.7346|
|13.||James Moffat||Jim Beam / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 16.0662|
|14.||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods / Paul Morris Motorsport||+ 16.0936|
|15.||Lee Holdsworth||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 18.1594|
|16.||Jonathon Webb||Mother Energy Racing Team / Tekno||+ 20.6097|
|17.||Tony D’Alberto||Wilson Security / Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 24.7720|
|18.||Fabian Coulthard||Bundaberg / Walkinsaw Racing||+ 27.8393|
|19.||Dean Fiore||Triple F Racing||+ 29.0786|
|20.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||+ 39.6481|
|21.||David Reynolds||Stratco Racing / Kelly Racing||+ 45.5042|
|22.||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing||+ 1 lap|
|23.||Warren Luff||Gulf Western Oil Racing / Lucas Dumbrell||+ 1 lap|
|24.||James Courtney||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||+ 6 laps|
|25.||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds / Brad Jones Racing||+ 6 laps|
|26.||Garth Tander||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||+ 13 laps|
|DNF.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||45 laps|
|DNF.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||10 laps|
[Image via V8 Supercars Media]