Newcastle Supercars: Van Gisbergen wins, Penske closes on teams' title

Andrew van Leeuwen
Van Gisbergen wins as Penske closes on teams' title
Van Gisbergen wins as Penske closes on teams' title

Shane van Gisbergen dominated the opening race of Supercars' Newcastle 500 weekend, as a late mistake from Jamie Whincup cost Triple Eight a 1-2 finish.

Van Gisbergen executed a perfect drive from pole, running deep into the first two stints before emerging with a healthy advantage for the run to the flag.

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The race was almost a Triple Eight walkover, too, with only a Whincup error preventing the factory Holden squad dominating the podium.

Instead it was DJR Team Penske that ended up with two drivers in the top three - and one hand on the teams' title - with Scott McLaughlin second and Fabian Coulthard third.

The race started perfectly for the two Red Bull Holdens, as van Gisbergen forced McLaughlin just wide enough into Turn 1 to give Whincup a run into Turn 2.

With Whincup as rear gunner and few passing opportunities anyway, leader van Gisbergen was in no hurry as the race settled into its first stint.

McLaughlin did not stay bottled up behind the Red Bulls for long, the Penske driver pitting on lap seven before resuming in clear air.

The extreme undercut meant McLaughlin jumped Whincup when the latter stopped on lap 16, the Mustang initially holding a four-second advantage. That was swiftly cut to nothing, though, with Whincup parked under McLaughlin's rear wing for the second stint.

McLaughlin became the effective leader a third of the way through the race on lap 32, van Gisbergen dropping behind both him and Whincup after finally making his first stop.

With Whincup unable to find a way past McLaughlin, the seven-time champion let his team-mate through on lap 44 to have a go. Van Gisbergen could not get it done either, though, and McLaughlin retained the lead until making his second stop just after mid-distance on lap 50.

Whincup covered McLaughlin off a lap later, using his fuel advantage from the opening stop to emerge well clear of the Penske Ford.

The Triple Eight 1-2 was then restored when van Gisbergen made his second stop on lap 64, emerging with four seconds over Whincup and almost nine over McLaughlin.

The factory Holdens looked set to cruise to the finish in that order, which would have slashed DJR Team Penske's advantage in the teams' championship to just 77 points.

But that was dashed by a costly mistake by Whincup 20 laps form the finish, a trip down the Turn 7 escape road dumping him back to seventh.

That helped McLaughlin back into second, although he had no answer for runaway leader van Gisbergen, the gap 10s at the finish.

Van Gisbergen wins as Penske closes on teams' title
Van Gisbergen wins as Penske closes on teams' title

Whincup's mistake promoted Coulthard to third, his first podium finish since July's Townsville round. Having both drivers on the podium also swung the teams' title fight well into Penske's favour, the gap now 143 points with just one race to go.

David Reynolds finished fourth ahead of Cam Waters, while Scott Pye was the star of the race with a remarkable charge from the very back of the grid to finish sixth.

The Walkinshaw Andretti United driver started at the back thanks to a qualifying crash on Saturday, his recovery including impressive moves on the likes of Whincup and team-mate James Courtney in the closing stages of the race.

Whincup could not find a way past Courtney and had to settle for eighth, while fellow Holden drivers Tim Slade and Mark Winterbottom completed the top 10.

Result - 95 laps

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Gap

1

Shane van Gisbergen

Triple Eight

Holden

1h55m11.9747s

2

Scott McLaughlin

DJR Penske

Ford

10.5269s

3

Fabian Coulthard

DJR Penske

Ford

12.8301s

4

David Reynolds

Erebus

Holden

15.3240s

5

Cameron Waters

Tickford

Ford

22.9578s

6

Scott Pye

Walkinshaw

Holden

23.7177s

7

James Courtney

Walkinshaw

Holden

29.6507s

8

Jamie Whincup

Triple Eight

Holden

29.9188s

9

Tim Slade

Brad Jones

Holden

30.6526s

10

Mark Winterbottom

Schwerkolt

Holden

35.3786s

11

Chaz Mostert

Tickford

Ford

41.4036s

12

Lee Holdsworth

Tickford

Ford

49.5492s

13

Rick Kelly

Kelly

Nissan

58.5151s

14

Nick Percat

Brad Jones

Holden

1m00.9419s

15

Will Davison

23Red Racing

Ford

1m02.6162s

16

Richie Stanaway

GRM

Holden

1m10.6392s

17

Macauley Jones

Blanchard/BJR

Holden

1m10.7527s

18

Todd Hazelwood

Matt Stone

Holden

1 Lap

19

Simona de Silvestro

Kelly

Nissan

1 Lap

20

Garry Jacobson

Kelly

Nissan

1 Lap

21

Andre Heimgartner

Kelly

Nissan

1 Lap

22

James Golding

GRM

Holden

1 Lap

23

Anton De Pasquale

Erebus

Holden

4 Laps

-

Jack Le Brocq

Tekno

Holden

Retirement

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