Shane van Gisbergen and co-driver Jonathon Webb have broken the TEKNO Autosport team’s season-long winless drought with an emphatic victory in the first of this weekend’s 300-kilometre races at the Gold Coast 600.
After being fastest in both the preliminary qualifying and Top-10 Shootout sessions, van Gisbergen handed the responsibility of starting Saturday’s 102-lap race to co-driver and team co-owner Jonathon Webb, who promptly skipped away into a lead of ten seconds by the time the co-drivers’ minimum 34-lap distance had been chalked up.
The duo switched roles when Webb pulled into the pits, with van Gisbergen controlling proceedings over his two stints through to the chequered flag. His margin of victory was just 1.6 seconds – only by dint of there being a late Safety Car interruption – which was hardly indicative of the dominance he and Webb enjoyed on the day.
Webb’s early laps were spent fending off an aggressive Alexandre Prémat in the #33 Volvo Polestar Racing, but the Frenchman brought his race – and that of lead driver Scott McLaughlin – undone with one too many launches over the kerbs through the chicane at the end of the back straight. The kerb-hopping ultimately destroyed the front splitter of the duo’s S60, and he was forced into the pits for repairs.
Their trouble wasn’t over. Once McLaughlin was behind the wheel, the luckless Kiwi suffered a power steering issue that saw him lose many laps. The pair finishes well down the order, 11 laps adrift.
The sister #34 Volvo of David Wall and Chris Pither also didn’t fare well, with Wall losing a lap after being turfed into the tyre wall trying to stop an overtaking move by David Reynolds’ Ford Falcon. Reynolds escaped any penalty and would go on to finish the race in second place alongside co-driver Dean Canto; it was a much-needed result given the uncertainty over Reynolds’ future in the Prodrive Racing stable.
That was not the only contact that the #55 Falcon would have during the race. Early on, Canto was hit by the #1 Red Bull Racing Holden driven by Paul Dumbrell (co-driver to reigning champion Jamie Whincup), which caused major front-end damage to the Triple Eight Holden. The Whincup/Dumbrell car finished last of the classified runners.
Just ahead of them in the standings was championship leader Mark Winterbottom and his co-driver Steve Owen, who had a disastrous race when Winterbottom could least afford it. His Proddrive Racing crew inexplicably released him from their pit bay directly into the path of Garth Tander’s HRT Holden during a flurry of pit stops, with the impact sending the championship leader into the path of the Red Bull Racing mechanics in the pit stall ahead.
The incident saw one mechanic struck by Winterbottom’s car, which had to return to the pits for lengthy repairs due to damaged steering while also copping a pit lane penalty.
The sister #6 Prodrive Racing Falcon of Cameron Waters and Russell Ingall fared little better. Waters was given a drive-through penalty for spinning his wheels while his car was up on its jacks in the youngster’s first pit stop, which put them down to 17th place.
Third place in the race went to the #888 Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff Red Bull Racing Holden, with Lowndes pushing Reynolds hard in the final laps but ultimately unable to find a way past.
There was an extremely tense battle for fourth place between the two HRT Holdens of Garth Tander and James Courtney. Having disposed of a grip-compromised Nissan of Rick Kelly, the pair set about renewing hostilities with a fierce scrap to the finish line that saw both cars making contact and swapping paint on a number of occasions, much to the clear irritation of team boss Adrian Burgess. Given that the pair have had two race-ending collisions with each other already this season, he was distinctly unimpressed with their antics.
Nick Percat and co-driver Oliver Gavin finished an excellent sixth in their LDM Holden, ahead of soon-to-be-teammates Fabian Coulthard (Brad Jones Racing) and Scott Pye (DJR Team Penske). The Nissans of Rick Kelly and James Moffat rounded out the top ten.
Despite the number of lengthy pit stops for repairs and plenty of panel-bending incidents in the race, there was only one retiree. The unfortunate Lee Holdsworth and co-driver Sébastien Bourdais (Walkinshaw Racing) were the innocent victims of a Turn 4 collision between Will Davison’s Erebus Mercedes and the sister Walkinshaw Holden of Tim Slade; Davison completely missed his braking and tipped Slade into a spin, to then be hit by Holdsworth.
The second race of the Gold Coast 600 takes place on Sunday at 2:30pm local time (GMT +10), preceded by a 20-minute qualifying session at 11:55am.
|2015 V8 Supercars Castrol Gold Coast 600 – Race 26 Final Classification (102 laps)|
|Pos||Driver / Co-Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|1.||Shane van Gisbergen / Jonathon Webb||TEKNO Autosports||102||2:08:14.329|
|2.||David Reynolds / Dean Canto||The Bottle-O Racing Team||102||+ 1.610|
|3.||Craig Lowndes / Steven Richards||Red Bull Racing / Triple 8||102||+ 1.752|
|4.||Garth Tander / Warren Luff||Holden Racing Team||102||+ 2.319|
|5.||James Courtney / Jack Perkins||Holden Racing Team||102||+ 3.603|
|6.||Nick Percat / Oliver Gavin||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||102||+ 4.026|
|7.||Fabian Coulthard / Luke Youlden||Brad Jones Racing||102||+ 4.217|
|8.||Scott Pye / Marcos Ambrose||DJR Team Penske||102||+ 17.676|
|9.||Rick Kelly / David Russell||Nissan Motorsport||102||+ 19.379|
|10.||James Moffat / Taz Douglas||Nissan Motorsport||102||+ 19.708|
|11.||Dale Wood / Macauley Jones||Brad Jones Racing||102||+ 19.860|
|12.||Tim Blanchard / Karl Reindler||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||102||+ 23.366|
|13.||Todd Kelly / Alex Buncombe||Nissan Motorsport||102||+ 24.351|
|14.||Tim Slade / Tony D’Alberto||Walkinshaw Performance||102||+ 25.119|
|15.||Will Davison / Alex Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8||102||+ 55.367|
|16.||David Wall / Chris Pither||Polestar GRM Volvo||101||+ 1 lap|
|17.||Cameron Waters / Russell Ingall||Prodrive Racing Australia||101||+ 1 lap|
|18.||Andre Heimgartner / Ant Pedersen||Super Black Racing||101||+ 1 lap|
|19.||Ash Walsh / Jack Le Brocq||Erebus Motorsport V8||101||+ 1 lap|
|20.||Michael Caruso / Dean Fiore||Nissan Motorsport||98||+ 4 laps|
|21.||Scott McLaughlin / Alexandre Premat||Polestar GRM Volvo||91||+ 11 laps|
|22.||Jason Bright / Andrew Jones||Brad Jones Racing||89||+ 13 laps|
|23.||Mark Winterbottom / Steve Owen||Prodrive Racing Australia||88||+ 14 laps|
|24.||Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell||Red Bull Racing / Triple 8||87||+ 15 laps|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|DNF.||Lee Holdsworth / Sébastien Bourdais||Walkinshaw Performance||88||Collision|
Image via V8 Supercars