Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander have won Race 27 of the Supercars Championship in a dramatic day on and off the track at the Vodafone Gold Coast 600. The pair finished ahead of Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes, reversing the finishing order from Saturday’s race and giving the Red Bull Holden Racing Team a clean sweep on the streets of Surfers Paradise.
The Triple Eight Racing ZB Commodore driven by Lowndes had a quicker start of the two Red Bull Holden entries when the lights went out. Side-by-side on approach to the first chicane, Lowndes opted to back off slightly ad surrendered the lead to the sister entry piloted by Tander to slot into second place.
Tucking in behind was the #9 Penrite-sponsored Erebus Motorsport Holden of Luke Youlden (co-driving with David Reynolds), followed by the slow starting Milwaukee Mustang of Alex Davison, with Thomas Randle (Tickford Racing Ford), Jack Perkins, Warren Luff ( both in Walkinshaw Andretti United Holdens) and Michael Caruso (Tickford Racing) rounding out the top eight.
The two Red Bull Holdens were barely separated by a second over the opening stint, but steadily pulled a five-second gap to Youlden as the first cycle of pit stops approached.
Caruso was the first driver into the pits, swiftly followed by Fabian Coulthard who was struck with a sensor issue on the #12 DJR Team Penske Mustang. In what was proving to be a terrible day for the Teams’ Championship leaders, the crew was forced to shut down the car in the hope of fixing the issue, however that caused the line locker to be disabled and the wheels to spin while the car was up in the air. This triggered an immediate 15-second time penalty which co-driver Tony D’Alberto would have to serve when he made his pit stop later in the race.
With his minimum requirement of 34 laps complete, Tander pitted from the lead and handed over to van Gisbergen. Lowndes stayed out for four further laps in the hope that the sister #888 entry could jump them in the pit stops, before he peeled into the pits and gave the controls to Whincup.
Caruso’s early pit stop – made quicker by the Tickford Racing crew opting not to swap him with Cameron Waters – meant that the Monster Energy sponsored car vaulted into the lead for the middle stint of the race, Van Gisbergen, however, benefiting from much fresher tyres, quickly ate into Caruso’s lead and passed the co-driver on Lap 51.
Caruso was then unable to hold back Whincup and Reynolds, losing positions to them on Laps 58 and 59 respectively.
Third-placed Reynolds triggered the second cycle of pit stops among the frontrunners on Lap 62, prompting van Gisbergen to pit on the very next lap to cover off any potential undercut. The #888 again stayed out longer, needing a shorter fuel fill for their final stop which they made on Lap 75, once again joining behind van Gisbergen.
Van Gisbergen tried to pull out a gap, building a 1.2-second buffer before his hard work was undone as he came across uncooperative lapped traffic. Once their pair was through the backmarkers, Whincup closed within half a second, setting up a grandstand finish for the final laps of the race.
Despite being all over the rear of van Gisbergen, Whincup could not find a way past his teammate and had to settle for second place. A late charge from Reynolds got him into the mix, but he couldn’t make any further progress and secured third place.
Van Gisbergen’s win was particularly crucial, claiming a maximum 150-point haul to close the deficit to Scott McLaughlin in the Drivers’ Championship standings to 463 points with three races left in the season.
McLaughlin was a non-starter on Sunday after the Kiwi suffered a shocking crash in preliminary qualifying that saw his DJR Team Penske Ford tipped onto its side and slide down the track when he hit the wall at the first chicane.
Fellow countryman van Gisbergen stopped his car and got out to render assistance to the medical crew who were promptly on the scene. While McLaughlin thankfully suffered little more than a shaking in the 43G impact that destroyed his car, he was later taken to hospital for precautionary observations.
His teammate Coulthard finished in eleventh place. With DJR Team Penske only able to field one car in the race, their advantage over Red Bull Holden Racing Team in the Teams’ Championship standings has been slashed to 132 points.
The race’s sole retirement was the Garry Rogers Motorsport entry of James Golding and Richard Muscat, which was caught out in an opening lap crash at Turn 11. The team, which has been the centre of media attention following its decision not renew its entries for the 2020 season, was in the spotlight before qualifying when team owner Garry Rogers suspended lead driver Richie Stanaway for the New Zealander’s failure to appear at a scheduled autograph session that morning.
The next event of the Supercars Championship is the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 on November 8-10, which will mark the third and final round of the 2019 Pirtek Enduro Cup.
|2019 Australian Supercars Championship Vodafone Gold Coast 600 – Race 27 Final Classification (102 laps)|
|Pos||Driver / Co-Driver||Team||Result|
|1.||Shane van Gisbergen / Garth Tander||Red Bull Holden Racing||2:04:38.009|
|2.||Jamie Whincup / Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Holden Racing||+ 0.174|
|3.||David Reynolds / Luke Youlden||Penrite Racing||+ 0.846|
|4.||Scott Pye / Warren Luff||Mobil 1 Racing||+ 14.158|
|5.||Cameron Waters / Michael Caruso||Monster Energy Racing||+ 16.182|
|6.||Lee Holdsworth / Thomas Randle||The Bottle-O Racing||+ 26.980|
|7.||Will Davison / Alex Davison||Milwaukee Racing||+ 28.293|
|8.||Anton de Pasquale / Will Brown||Penrite Racing||+ 43.294|
|9.||James Courtney / Jack Perkins||Mobil 1 Racing||+ 50.733|
|10.||Nick Percat / Tim Blanchard||7-Eleven Mobil Racing||+ 1:03.574|
|11.||Fabian Coulthard / Tony D’Alberto||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 1:04.556|
|12.||Garry Jacobson / Dean Fiore||RABBLE.club Racing||1 lap behind|
|13.||Jack Le Brocq / Jonathon Webb||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||1 lap behind|
|14.||Rick Kelly / Dale Wood||Castrol Racing||1 lap behind|
|15.||Macauley Jones / Dean Canto||Team CoolDrive||1 lap behind|
|16.||Brodie Kostecki / Jake Kostecki||Team Arcoweld Racing||1 lap behind|
|17.||Tim Slade / Ashley Walsh||Freightliner Alliance Racing||2 laps behind|
|18.||Dylan O’Keeffe / Chris Pither||Boost Mobile Racing||2 laps behind|
|19.||Mark Winterbottom / Steven Richards||Irwin Racing||2 laps behind|
|20.||Todd Hazelwood / Jack Smith||Bigmate Racing||4 laps behind|
|21.||Andre Heimgartner / Bryce Fullwood||Plus Fitness Racing||4 laps behind|
|22.||Simona de Silvestro / Alex Rullo||Team Harvey Norman||20 laps behind|
|DNF.||James Golding / Richard Muscat||Boost Mobile Racing||Accident|
|DNS.||Scott McLaughlin / Alexandre Prémat||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Withdrawn|
|DNS.||Chaz Mostert / James Moffat||Supercheap Auto Racing||Withdrawn|
Image via Red Bull Holden Racing Team
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