After countless races of unfulfilled promise, Shane van Gisbergen has finally taken his maiden V8 Supercars race victory, and he could not have picked a better place to do it: in front of his home crowd at the ITM400 in the New Zealand city of Hamilton.
The baby-faced 21-year-old showed great mettle after a difficult opening race – where he embarrassingly crashed into the pit wall – to hold out against Gary Rogers’ driver Lee Holdsworth and TOLL HRT’s Garth Tander.
It was an outstanding result for all three, none of whom managed to finish in the top-fifteen places in yesterday’s first race.
Van Gisbergen’s home crowd erupted when the Ford Performance Racing driver took the chequered flag, which was also the first for the outfit on New Zealand soil.
The result sees van Gisbergen move to sixth in the Drivers’ Championship standing, which closed up dramatically after several of the championship frontrunners hit trouble in today’s 59-lap race.
In particular, Mark Winterbottom and Jamie Whincup both struck trouble in unison after getting tangled in a multi-car accident at Turn 3 that started when Michael Caruso spun at the corner. The carnage saw Winterbottom forced to retire his Ford, while Whincup limped to the pits for repairs and finished 18th, two laps adrift.
Having come into this weekend sitting inside the top-three in the championship standings, Winterbottom’s DNF drops him to sixth, while Whincup somehow still managed to hold onto his title lead, this time with Rick Kelly (the winner in yesterday’s first race) in second place and 81 points shy.
Kelly actually should have made it back-to-back podiums at Hamilton, but he clipped a tyre bundle at Turn 4 and dropped to sixth.
Will Davison wound up finishing in fourth place in the sister FPR entry, while Steve Owen mirrored his personal-best qualifying effort with fifth place in the race – another PB for the VIP Petfoods driver.
Rick Kelly, Alex Davison, Russell Ingall, Steven Johnson and Craig Lowndes (who also served a drive-through penalty for crossing over the pit exit blend line) completed the top-ten finishers.
V8 Supercars ITM400 Final Classification (Race 2 – 59 laps):
|1.||Shane van Gisbergen||SP Tool Racing||01:34:19:8748|
|2.||Lee Holdsworth||Fujitsu Racing GRM||+ 0.7827|
|3.||Garth Tander||TOLL Holden Racing Team||+ 6.2116|
|4.||Will Davison||Trading Post FPR||+ 8.3795|
|5.||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods||+ 12.5273|
|6.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing||+ 15.2856|
|7.||Alex Davison||Irwin Racing||+ 15.4074|
|8.||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto Racing||+ 15.9901|
|9.||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing||+ 16.7432|
|10.||Craig Lowndes||Team Vodafone||+ 18.6275|
|11.||Jason Bright||Team BOC||+ 20.0527|
|12.||Jonathon Webb||Mother Energy Racing Team||+ 20.9837|
|13.||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||+ 23.7198|
|14.||Dean Fiore||Triple F Racing||+ 24.0775|
|15.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing||+ 28.0479|
|16.||Warren Luff||Gulf Western Oil Racing||+ 33.9765|
|17.||James Moffat||Jim Beam||+ 1:00.9633|
|18.||Jamie Whincup||Team Vodafone||2 laps behind|
|19.||Paul Dumbrell||The Bottle-O Racing Team||3 laps behind|
|20.||David Reynolds||Stratco Racing||11 laps behind|
|DNF||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 Racing||55 laps|
|DNF||Fabian Coulthard||Bundaberg Racing||55 laps|
|DNF||Tony D’Alberto||Wilson Security Racing||46 laps|
|DNF||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing GRM||43 laps|
|DNF||Jason Bargwanna||Jana Living Racing||20 laps|
|DNF||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel FPR||19 laps|
|DNF||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew||9 laps|
|DNF||James Courtney||TOLL Holden Racing Team||3 laps|
[Video via V8 Supercars]