Race 28 2023 Repco Supercars Championship - Vailo 500 For the second year succession, the…
Will Brown has taken out Race 10 of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship with a lights-to-flag win at the NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint over Andre Heimgartner and Shane van Gisbergen.
While it was smooth sailing for Brown in the #9 Coca Cola Erebus Motorsport Camaro, the same could not be said for his compatriot.
Teammate and Championship leader, Brodie Kostecki, had his points lead slashed after an incident on the third lap of the race as Shane van Gisbergen clambered onto the podium with a last corner pass on Cameron Waters in the Monster Mustang.
Things went even worse for Chaz Mostert, who had started the weekend second in the championship. He was caught up in the aftermath of Kostecki’s incident and suffered a dnf as a result.
Andre Heimgartner reached a Supercars milestone when he gridded up for his 100th Supercar round and celebrated with a well deserved second place finish.
The race itself ran the first half a lap with the usual jostle for position without any major catastrophe, that was until the field reached Turn 6. Back in the mid-pack James Courtney found himself wide at the exit of the corner as he fought with Mark Winterbottom and Tim Slade for track position. The Snowy River Caravan Mustang ran wide, skated across the grass and nudged the tyres near the approach to the pit entry. He back the car out of trouble and returned to the track for another lap before heading to the garage to replace a bent steering arm.
Kostecki and Le Brocq also had a coming together at the same corner when Kostecki dived to the inside of the Truck Assist Camaro. Le Brocq was not about to relinquish the position as the pair ran side-by-side down the main straight and through Turn 1. Kostecki gained the inside line at Turn 2 and moved into second place, albeit briefly.
The move left Le Brocq open to an attack from Waters who then moved up the inside of the #34 on the run towards the Turn 4 hairpin. Le Brocq stayed wide and then hit the rear of Kostecki’s #99 under brakes for the Hairpin. Waters seized a chance to gain two place and moved inside the pair, just as Kostecki looked to move back towards mid-track. The left front wheel of Kostecki’s Camaro touched the right rear of Waters’ Mustang and then glance the outside barrier with a bent steering arm.
In the melee that followed Chaz Mostert was hit by Broc Feeney and spun onto the inside embankment, while Feeney also spun when hit from behind by a close following Scott Pye. Mostert managed to get back onto the race circuit proper and toured back to the garage for the remainder of the race. Feeney was able to continue with damage to the rear bodywork of the Ampol Red Bull Racing Camaro.
Both Courtney and Kostecki eventually returned to the circuit at the tail of the field around 5 laps behind the leaders.
From there the race ran without further incident. Brown continued to lead through to the pit stop window where he conceded the lead to a late stopping van Gisbergen.
At the end of the compulsory stops it was Brown in the lead with a small margin to Heimgartner, then Waters van Gisbergen, Pye, Slade and Le Brocq.
The focus during those closing stages of the 42 lap race was on the battle for third, with Waters coming under increasing pressure from van Gisbergen. The Monster Mustang seemed to be safely in third as the final lap commenced, but the reigning champion is one to never be underestimated.
The #1 Ampol Red Bull Camaro ran side-by-side under the black Monster Mustang from the exit of the hairpin and through Turn 5 before taking the position under brakes for Turn 6.
A brief touch on the exit of the corner enabled the #1 to clear the Mustang for third place.
Brown took the win by 6/10ths of a second from Heimgartner, with van Gisbergen a further 4 seconds further back.
Waters, Pye, Slade, Le Brocq, Hill, Percat and Randle completed the Top 10.
“Andre was hustling at the end, I could see he was catching me a bit, I was trying to save my rear tyres,” Brown said.
”It was definitely squirming around at the end… I knew once I got off the line and saw the guys fighting behind me, I had to stay out there and watch for the undercut. I’m ecstatic, it’s awesome to get another win.”
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