Shane van Gisbergen gave his home fans fans plenty to celebrate after claiming victory from pole position in the opening race of the ITM Auckland SuperSprint, however his teammate Jamie Whincup’s post-race penalty cost the Red Bull Holden Racing Team a one-two finish.
Van Gisbergen dominated the 200-kilometre battle in the #97 ZB Commodore at his hometown Pukekohe Raceway, handing the 30-year-old his third win of the 2019 season and the 100th podium of his career. The win elevates the New Zealand driver from fourth to second in the Drivers’ Championship standings, trailing runaway leader Scott McLaughlin by 577 points.
The Commodores underwent further aero changes ahead of the New Zealand round as allowed by Supercars in their ongoing campaign for parity, something that van Gisbergen hopes will help to turn Red Bull’s tough season around.
“I was a bit worried in the middle and at the start, we had all those Ford’s (behind us) but all the support here just makes you lift, we come here and it’s such an awesome feeling to have so many Kiwi fans,” van Gisbergen said. “I’m glad we could get one, hopefully again tomorrow.
“It was such a good day, the boys have been working hard, the aero changes seem to make a difference but whatever, so good to get a win and one at home.”
Whincup marched his way through the field from twelfth on the grid to finish second but a controversial move on Nick Percat sent the NZ Safety Blackwood ZB Commodore spinning on Lap 2 became the subject of a post-race investigation.
The #88 driver was hit with a 15-second post-race penalty that dropped him to sixth, elevating Cameron Waters (Tickford Racing) to second and David Reynolds (Erebus Racing) to third in the revised race results.
Another penalty impacted the final outcome for 23Red Racing’s Will Davison who crossed the line in P3 but had 15 seconds added to his time for speeding in pit lane, seeing him demoted to ninth.
The beneficiary of Davison’s mistake was Waters, who was promoted to the podium despite his race being marred by a clash with teammate Chaz Mostert on Lap 42 that sent them both off the track at Turn 5. Mostert was forced into the pits with damaged steering.
While Waters was able to recover from the incident, the sister Supercheap sponsored Mustang spent a lengthy stint in the pits. The incident demoted Mostert from second to fourth in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
The on-track battle made for an interesting Tickford team debrief, with team boss Tim Edwards furious watching from the garage.
“It was stupid,” Edwards said. “The pair should not be fighting that hard [with each other], but shit happens.”
Trackside fans were indulged with more drama in a bizarre incident involving Irwin Racing’s Mark Winterbottom where his Holden ran out of fuel on the fourteenth lap of the 70-lap race.
Winterbottom’s car coughed to a halt on the side of the track, triggering a Safety Car, and had to be pushed back to pit lane by the team’s crew. He was able to continue after refuelling, but finished five laps down in 22nd place.
Championship leader McLaughlin had a noticeably quiet day at Pukekohe, qualifying a season’s worst sixth-fastest behind his DJR Team Penske teammate Fabian Coulthard. The Shell V-Power Racing duo were both overtaken by Penrite Racing’s David Reynolds in the opening laps and came home in fourth and seventh in the revised results.
All five Kiwis finished in the top 10, with Andre Heimgartner (Kelly Racing Nissan) eighth and Richie Stanaway (Garry Rogers Motorsport) a season’s-best tenth.
The action across the ditch continues on Sunday with ARMOR ALL Qualifying for Race 24 starting at 9:20am AEST.
|2019 Australian Supercars Championship ITM Auckland SuperSprint – Race 23 Final Classification (70 laps)|
|1.||Shane van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing||1:19:07.639|
|2.||Cameron Waters||Monster Energy Racing||+ 12.649|
|3.||David Reynolds||Penrite Racing||+ 15.427|
|4.||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 16.089|
|5.||Lee Holdsworth||The Bottle-O Racing||+ 16.891|
|6.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing||+ 17.363|
|7.||Fabian Coulthard||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 21.383|
|8.||Andre Heimgartner||Plus Fitness Racing||+ 21.996|
|9.||Will Davison||Milwaukee Racing||+ 24.822|
|10.||Richie Stanaway||Boost Mobile Racing||+ 25.927|
|11.||Tim Slade||Machinery House Racing||+ 26.661|
|12.||Nick Percat||NZ Safety Blackwoods Racing||+ 31.849|
|13.||Scott Pye||Mobil 1 Racing||+ 32.280|
|14.||Todd Hazelwood||Bigmate Racing||+ 37.850|
|15.||Anton de Pasquale||Penrite Racing||+ 38.320|
|16.||Simona de Silvestro||Team Harvey Norman||+ 38.586|
|17.||James Courtney||Mobil 1 Racing||+ 39.985|
|18.||Garry Jacobson||RABBLE.club Racing||+ 42.178|
|19.||Rick Kelly||Castrol Racing||+ 47.031|
|20.||Macauley Jones||Team CoolDrive||+ 57.902|
|21.||Jack Le Brocq||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||1 lap behind|
|22.||Mark Winterbottom||Irwin Racing||5 laps behind|
|DNF.||James Golding||Boost Mobile Racing||Steering|
|DNF.||Chaz Mostert||Supercheap Auto Racing||Collision|
- Jamie Whincup – who provisionally finished P2 – was issued a 15-second post-race time penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Nick Percat.
- Will Davison – who provisionally finished P3 – was issued a 15-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
Image via Red Bull Holden Racing Team