Race 28 2023 Repco Supercars Championship - Vailo 500 For the second year succession, the…
Shane van Gisbergen avoided damage from an early incident in Race 32 at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 to take another dominant victory in the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship. Chaz Mostert and Will Davison completed the podium with relatively straight cars, which might be considered a win itself given the array of bent, twisted and patched up cars the drove into par ferme.
The #97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Commodore held a slight advantage over Will Davison as the two ran side-by-side towards the first chicane. A small tap to the rear of the #17 Shell V-Power Racing Mustang by Chaz Mostert in 3rd saw both cars run through the chicane run-off and Davison rejoin the circuit in the lead.
The move was deemed fair by Race Control and Davison continued to lead the opening laps of the race. Given no need for any further motivation van Gisbergen threw an unrelating barrage at the leader throughout the opening 3 laps of the race.
It may well have continued had it not been for an indiscretion by James Golding at the Main Beach Chicane that brought the rear of the field to a standstill, with the BJR entry of Macauley Jones billowing bright orange flames from the engine bay of the Commodore as Golding’s Subway Commodore sat almost perpendicular to the track with extensive front end damage.
Golding had sat in 11th place in a freight train of cars as the headed down the back straight. The Subway Commodore got loose over the mid section of the chicane and then ran over the tyre bundle at the final curve. It sent Golding flying across the track and into the outside wall. The tyre stack was dislodged and slid onto the racing line where it was then hit by Thomas Randle, Nick Percat and Macauley, with all three then hitting the stranded Subway entry.
Broc Feeney and James Courtney also hit Golding, with Courtney’s car then lifted off the ground after contact with Lee Holdsworth. Bryce Fullwood made contact with Golding and Courtney as he tried to thread the needle of wreckage while Tim Slade suffered rear end damage when he slowed to avoid the incident only to be hit from behind by Jack Smith. Jack LeBrocq and Todd Hazelwood also suffered damage in the melee.
Will Davison headed the field when the race resume behind the Safety Car some 30 minutes later. 17 cars were on track at the restart while the Courtney and Randle cars received urgent repairs in the hope of getting them back into the race. Davison drove defensively on cold tyres as he fought to retain the lead despite a number of love taps from van Gisbergen.
The #97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Commodore caught the leader off guard at Turn 11 on Lap 11 and assumed the race lead. From that point, save for the pit stop cycle, van Gisbergen was never headed.
Mostert looked to undercut the two leaders with his stop on Lap 23 and moved ahead of Davison when the Shell V-Poer #17 stopped a few laps later. Shane van Gisbergen ran to lap 29 before taking his first stop and returned behind Mostert, who had taken a lighter fuel load at his first stop.
The lead reverted to van Gisbergen when Mostert stopped again on Lap 45. Davison was in 4 laps later, which temporarily promoted Mark Winterbottom to 2nd. On lap 53 of 85 Shane van Gisbergen made his second and final pit stop and held the effective race lead rom Mostert, Davison, Reynolds, Waters, Fullwood, B.Kostecki, Winterbottom and De Pasquale.
Thomas Randles truncated race came to a final conclusion on Lap 71 when the Castrol Mustang ground to a halt on the front straight, barely a hundred metres from the pit complex. An ensuing Safety Car period offered some spice for the closing laps of the race.
As the green flag waved, van Gisbergen jumped quickly and held a half second lead at the first chicane. While the leading quartet remained relatively unchallenged, the fight for position 5-8 was hotly contested with the two Erebus Racing Boost Mobile Commodores heavily involved.
Brodie Kostecki eventually muscled past Cameron Waters for 5th. The move compromised Waters pace down the back straight with Winterbottom through at Turn 11. Scott Pye looked to follow with Will Brown on his rear bumper. That concertina effect saw Brown clip the rear of Pye and nudge the #20 Commodore into the tyre wall. Pye managed to continue but dropped to the rear of the field. Post race penalties to Brown, for that incident and Pye, for Safety Car infringement had both listed as the final two finishers in the race.
Shane van Gisbergen set a new record for race wins in a single season with his victory over Mostert and Davison. The result also secured the Teams Championship for the Red Bull Ampol Racing outfit.
“I was pretty angry at the start, how they let them cut the chicane,” van Gisbergen told Fox Sports. “So I was pretty fired up and sent it all race. It was awesome. Thanks to my team Red Bull Ampol Racing. It’s an awesome way to seal the championship.”
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