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Race 23: Shane van Gisbergen Breaks The Drought In 2020

Shane van Gisbergen scored his first win of 2020 with victory in Race 23 of the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. He shadowed early leader Nick Percat for the first portion of the race, then pounced with a clean pass at the final corner to take a lead that was never relinquished.

Nick Percat was unperturbed by his pole position for Race 23 in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, nor was he fazed at the sight of Scott McLaughlin on the starting grid. Percat held his head and launched from the line to lead from McLaughlin, van Gisbergen, Waters and Whincup through turns 1 and 2. Shane van Gisbergen somehow managed to sweep around the outside of McLaughlin at the second turn and then looked up the inside of race leader Percat at turn 3.

Percat remained in front at the end of lap 1 from van Gisbergen, McLaughlin, Waters, Whincup, Hazelood, Le Brocq, Holdsworth, Reynolds and Fullwood. Percat remained in control of the race for the following 6 laps as van Gisbergen slowly bridged the gap and looked to pass the R&J Batteries Commodore. An excellent exit at the penultimate corner placed van Gisbergen in the ideal position to move inside at the final corner, which he did to great effect. Percat looked to retake the lead on a switchback move but van Gisbergen had covered his track well and maintained the lead into turn 2.

McLaughlin and Whincup both made their compulsory pit stop on lap 16 as van Gisbergen continued to lead from Percat and Waters. The Red Bull Holden Racing Team gained a minuscule advantage during the stop with Whincup first to leave his pit box. McLaughlin was ushered away a split second later with barely a car’s length between the pair as they exited the pits. Hazelwood ad Kelly stopped on the following lap. Hazelwood split the battle between Mclaughlin and Whincup in 16th place on his return to the track. Whincup retook the position half a lap later as Hazelwood continued to feel his way around the circuit on cold tyres. A pitlane infringement led to a time penalty for the

Shane van Gisbergen stopped on lap 18 and changed all four tyres. He emerged with a small gap to McLaughlin which afforded him some much needed time to bring his tyres up to racing temperature. At the conclusion of the pitstop cycle van Gisbergen retained the lead from McLaughlin, Whincup, Percat and Waters.

As the race counted down to the final laps an intense battle developed for 10th place, w with Mostert ahead of Winterbottom, Reynolds, Kelly and Fullwood. Winterbottom seized 10th with a move up the inside at the final corner and comfortably headed the WAU driver by turn 2. Kelly managed to move into 13th at the same corner with a pass on De Pasquale. Rick Kelly looked to. move past Mostert on the penultimate lap but made contact with the #25 Commodore on entry into the hairpin. Mostert slid sideways as Kelly lifted which then saw Reynolds cannon into the rear of the Castrol Mustang after contact from Bryce Fullwood. Damage to the two cars was largely superficial

Shane van Gisbergen took the win from McLaughlin and Whincup. Percat, Waters, Pye, Le Brocq, Holdsworth, Winterbottom and Mostert completed the top 10. Fullwood’s penalty saw the BJR driver drop to 12th, while Kelly and Reynolds ended the race in 11th and 15th respectively. The victory notched up 200 race wins for Triple Eight Engineering in the Supercars Championship.

“Man it feels good for the win, my crew’s never given up and we got a win like that, we smoked them,” van Gisbergen told Fox Sports. “Two hundred wins for Triple Eight and Red Bull Holden Racing Team, what a great feeling.”

Race 24: Shane van Gisbergen Breaks The Drought In 2020 -AGAIN.

It was an all BJR front row for the final race of the double header weekends at the Tonwsville Reid Park Circuit. Todd Hazelwood headed teammate Nick Percat, with Mostert and De Pasquale on the second row. First and second from race 23, Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin sat back in 12th and 10th respectively. McLaughlin was less than impressed during qualifying when he encountered a slow moving Garry Jacobson. The pair made contact as the Shell V-Power driver tried to pass, which earned Jacobson, who was quick to apologise for his indiscretion, a visit to the Race Stewards.

Hazelwood and Percat were both intent on taking the lead into turn 2 and rubbed panels as they fought for the early supremacy, Hazelwood held the upper hand from pole position and took the inside line on the run towards turn 2. The field pushed and shoved for position at the tight turn 2, with Scott Pither on the receiving end. The red Team Sydney Commodore left to limp back to the pits with a broken left front suspension.

At the end of the first lap Hazelwood led from Percat, De Pasquale, Mostert and Whincup. Shane van Gisbergen had shadowed behind McLaughlin for most of the opening lap as the pair moved into 7th and 8th place, then pounced at the final corner to displace the Shell V-Power Mustang. A move by Waters for 5th place saw De Pasquale’s exit speed compromised onto the main straight, which all but gifted 6th place to van Gisbergen down the pit straight.

Mostert closed on the two BJR Commodores ahead and managed to split the pair on lap 15 of 39, with race leader Hazelwood 3.5 seconds clear. Percat was struggling with his tyres and dropped back into the clutches of Whincup, Waters and van Gisbergen. A wide exit at the hairpin for Percat saw Whincup quickly past the R&J Batteries machine, with Waters also intent on the same move.  As the Monster Energy Mustang moved to the right of the circuit he received a faint touch from van Gisbergen which spun Waters infield towards the pit lane entry road. Percat had made a last minute call to pit, which set off the chain reaction behind him. Shane van Gisbergen told his engineer that Waters had “Brake checked him. Waters pirouetted 360 degrees and then headed down to pit road to make his compulsory stop in an attempt to limit the damage from the incident.

Shane van Gisbergen was the last of the front runners to pit and did so from 1st place on lap 24. As the Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore edged into pit lane, Anton De Pasquale found the wall with a heavy impact in the #99 Penrite Racing Commodore. De Pasquale was okay and radioed to the team that something had broken on the car moments before the incident. Replays showed the car fail to take the right hand turn 6 corner with an apparent front suspension failure and then spear almost head on into the tyre bundles at the outside of the corner.

The Safety Car was called on track moments after van Gisbergen had returned to the track in 9th place. After a lengthy delay the race resumed with 9 laps left. Mclaughlin, who had taken the effective race lead with a classic undercut pit stop, from Hazelwood, Whincup, Percat, Mostert, Holdsworth, Waters, van Gisbergen, Coulthard and Le Brocq. Both Mostert and van Gisbergen gained a position at the turn 11 hairpin at the conclusion of lap 31. Red Bull Holden Racing Team were on a charge as Whincup and van Gisbergen both gained another place at the final corner as the leader completed the 32nd lap of the race.

Hazelwood excellent race began to fade on worn tyres over the final laps of the race. After Whincup had displaced him from the podium, van Gisbergen and then Mostert pounced to drop him back to 5th place. McLaughlin was caught by the RBHRT pair with 4 laps left. The Shell V-Power Mustang was clearly struggling on its rubber, but McLaughlin somehow managed to hold out van Gisbergen (who had passed his Red Bull teammate) until the hairpin. The #97 Red Bull sponsored Commodore pushed McLaughlin wide and slipped inside, which allowed Whincup to do likewise as McLaughlin and van Gisbergen rubbed panels.

Shane van Gisbergen took his second win of the day from Whincup and McLaughlin. Mostert, Pye, Hazelwood, Percat, Coulthard, Courtney and Holdsworth completed the top 10.

“Oh man what an awesome race, I had a great car and got stuck into the first stint,” Shane van Gisbergen told Fox Sports. “It was going to be difficult to get back onto the podium and the Safety Car worked perfectly. Big battle at the end and tried to do the team thing to help Jamie, but awesome. It worked out really cool with some fun battles. Forgot to say it earlier, but Happy Father’s Day to Dad, got another one for you mate!”



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