Shane van Gisbergen and co-driver Jonathon Webb have atoned – somewhat – for their Bathurst 1000 heartbreak just a fortnight ago by claiming victory from pole position in the first of this weekend’s two races for the Gold Coast 600.
The TEKNO Autosport duo ultimately cruised to victory in an incident-filled race, winning by just over two seconds from championship leader Jamie Whincup and co-driver Paul Dumbrell.
With the opening phase of the race largely featuring the field’s co-drivers, Webb lead from pole position. The race was immediately thrown under a full-course caution after the #22 HRT Holden of James Courtney / Greg Murphy was forced into retirement just seconds into the race; Murphy was tapped into a spin trying to avoid the slow-starting Nissan of David Russell / Rick Kelly and they were forced out with broken suspension.
Webb was slow to restart the field when the green flag was thrown, and Dumbrell jumped the gun from third to take the lead before passing the control line. He quickly sought to redress the situation, but not before an enterprising Scott McLaughlin – who was one of just five ‘main game’ drivers to start the race – nipped ahead of Webb to overtake them both.
McLaughlin set about building an early lead while Webb fended off Dumbrell and the chasing pack for the next few laps, but McLaughlin’s hopes of victory ultimately came undone by his Volvo team trying to anticipate a Safety Car call that never came. Alex Davison managed to slide his Erebus AMG into the barriers, and so McLaughlin headed for the pits in the anticipation of a debris clean-up; he handed over to co-driver Alexandre Prémat but the damage was done and so the pair spent the rest of the race trying to pick their way back up the order.
While the officials ultimately decided to ease up on a clampdown over kerb-hopping, that didn’t stop a number of runners from coming to grief against the tyre stacks or the cement walls.
David Reynolds was one such casualty, shattering his right front suspension after getting onto two wheels through the beachfront chicane; his retirement triggered the race’s second Safety Car, and by that point Whincup (who’d taken over from Dumbrell) was in the lead from Mark Winterbottom, Ashley Walsh, and the out-of-sequence McLaughlin.
As the next phase of pit stops and dramas unfolded, van Gisbergen was back in the lead heading into the final one-third of the race, while Whincup picked his way up the order after his final visit to the pits.
Whincup’s teammate Craig Lowndes was not out of contention, stuck in pit lane for lengthy repairs after tagging the wall.
Ultimately, van Gisbergen was never headed, easing off in the final two laps to beat Whincup home at the end of the 102-lap race.
The battle for third place between Tim Slade and Mark Winterbottom was intense; ‘Frosty’ repeatedly touched the back of Slade’s TWR Holden and a final tap exiting the last corner was enough to unsettle Slade and allow the FPR driver to nip into third place by just two-hundredths of a second.
Winterbottom was handed a controversial penalty after the race and stripped of his podium, which was returned to an exhausted Slade, who had finally delivered a performance that wasn’t sullied by bad lack or reliability problems.
2014 V8 Supercars Gold Coast 600 – Race 1 (102 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Shane van Gisbergen / Jonathon Webb||Team TEKNO VIP Petfoods||2:13:24.099|
|2.||Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell||Red Bull Racing Australia||+ 2.255|
|3.||Tim Slade / Tony D’Alberto||SuperCheap Auto Racing||+ 23.169|
|4.||Mark Winterbottom / Steve Owen^||Pepsi Max Crew Ford Performance Racing||+ 23.147|
|5.||Michael Caruso / Dean Fiore||Norton Hornets||+ 23.299|
|6.||Chaz Mostert / Paul Morris||Pepsi Max Crew Ford Performance Racing||+ 31.840|
|7.||Scott McLaughlin / Alexandre Premat||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM||+ 38.651|
|8.||Scott Pye / Ashley Walsh||Wilson Security Racing||+ 38.899|
|9.||Russell Ingall / Tim Blanchard||Repair Management Australia Racing||+ 1:03.799|
|10.||Garth Tander / Warren Luff||Holden Racing Team||– 1 lap|
|11.||Fabian Coulthard / Luke Youlden||Lockwood Racing||– 1 lap|
|12.||Lee Holdsworth / Craig Baird||Erebus Motorsport V8||– 1 lap|
|13.||Robert Dahlgren / Greg Ritter||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM||– 1 lap|
|14.||James Moffat / Taz Douglas||Norton Hornets||– 1 lap|
|15.||Dale Wood / Chris Pither||Team ADVAM / GB||– 2 laps|
|16.||Jason Bright / Andrew Jones||Team BOC||– 3 laps|
|17.||David Wall / Steven Johnson||Wilson Security Racing||– 3 laps|
|18.||Craig Lowndes / Steven Richards||Red Bull Racing Australia||– 4 laps|
|19.||Nick Percat / Oliver Gavin||HHA Racing||– 5 laps|
|20.||Rick Kelly / David Russell||Jack Daniel’s Racing||– 16 laps|
|21.||Will Davison / Alex Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8||– 19 laps|
|DNF.||Todd Kelly / Alex Buncombe||Jack Daniel’s Racing||76 laps|
|DNF.||David Reynolds / Dean Canto||The Bottle-O Racing Team||49 laps|
|DNF.||Jack Perkins / Cameron Waters||Team Jeld-Wen||27 laps|
|DNF.||James Courtney / Greg Murphy||Holden Racing Team||0 laps|
^ Winterbottom/Owen were stripped of third place for causing avoidable contact with Slade/D’Alberto on the final lap of the race.
Image via Christian Hartung