Shane van Gisbergen has taken his fourth win of the year after a strategic play from Triple Eight Racing. The fight went long and hard towards the end of the race though it was the reigning champion who prevailed.

Yet again it was Scott McLaughlin who took pole position in qualifying, his sixth of the year out of ten races. Jamie Whincup lined up second, while Shane van Gisbergen, Cam Waters and Fabian Coulthard completed the top five of the grid.

At the start, it was Whincup in the outside lane who got the cleaner start, winning the run to the first turn and leaving McLaughlin to fend off Van Gisbergen. The #88 cleared the field out of the opening chicane while Jason Bright was spun off the track.

Whincup had clear pace, clearing the pack and enjoying seeing McLaughlin and Van Gisbergen fight in his mirrors. As with Saturday’s race, the first round of stops were completed early for Whincup and McLaughlin, taking on different loads of fuel while Van Gisbergen went for a longer opening stint.

After the first round of stops, Coulthard had to fend of Mark Winterbottom after coming out of pits ahead but with cold tyres. The pair made contact but no drama ensued. Van Gisbergen was the real winner, having clear pace over McLaughlin who signalled for the defending champion to pass.

The speed of the four championship leaders was evident with the two Triple Eight and DJR Team Penske cars clearly surpassing the lap times of their rivals. While different strategies were at play, McLaughlin was clearly struggling with the team choosing to change their strategy on the fly.

The second round of stops fell within a few laps of each other for the top three with McLaughlin pitting first followed by Whincup and Van Gisbergen, the latter briefly leading for a corner until Whincup was able to bump his way past.

Both drivers seemed fired up, battling with each other in the way we were treated to in 2016. McLaughlin stayed within four seconds but generally seemed to lack overall speed. Coulthard ran long until his final stop, coming in on lap 43 of 67, exiting behind McLaughlin but on fresher tyres for the end.

The battle between the DJRTP drivers lasted one straight as McLaughlin let Coulthard past, the latter having much better pace thanks to new rubber. Van Gisbergen wasn’t able to stay in touch with Whincup as the front bunch spread themselves out.

Michael Caruso was the cause of the weekend’s first safety car, being pushed off the road by Shae Davies, one of the weekend’s wildcard drivers who was awkwardly also in a Nissan. The field was bunched up with Whincup leading Van Gisbergen, Alex Rullo splitting them and Coulthard who was on ten lap younger tyres.

While Whincup got the jump to the control line, Van Gisbergen was on his bumper for the opening lap. The squabble allowed Coulthard to close up as the Triple Eight machines fought for the lead. McLaughlin was left to fend off Waters and the train behind.

Whincup ran wide at the last corner of the second lap of green flag running, losing positions to the other two cars but forcing his way past Coulthard to reclaim second. Waters was able to get past McLaughlin whose car was clearly struggling in race trim.

Van Gisbergen was able to check out at the front, running consistently quick lap times which enabled him to take his third points win of the season. Whincup held off Coulthard, the pair now split by only four points in the title fight.

Waters notched up his best finish of his Supercars main game career in fourth while McLaughlin’s qualifying pace failed to convert to the race, finishing in fifth place.

2017 Australian Supercars Winton SuperSprint – Race 10 Top-10 Finishers (67 laps)
Pos Driver Team / Entry Result
1. Shane van Gisbergen Red Bull Holden Racing Team 1:35:19.8233
2. Jamie Whincup Red Bull Holden Racing Team + 1.262
3. Fabian Coulthard Shell V-Power DJR Team Penske + 1.709
4. Cameron Waters Monster Energy Racing + 2.881
5. Scott McLaughlin Shell V-Power DJR Team Penske + 6.244
6. Garth Tander Wilson Security Racing GRM + 7.910
7. David Reynolds Erebus Penrite Racing + 10.654
8. Chaz Mostert SuperCheap Auto Racing + 11.322
9. Will Davison TEKNO Woodstock Racing + 11.716
10. Lee Holdsworth Preston Hire Racing + 12.795

Image via Red Bull Holden Racing Team

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Jordan Mulach

Journalist at MotorsportM8
Canberra born and raised journalist. Studying Sports Media. iRacing addict