Van Gisbergen Wins Clipsal 500
By: V8 Supercars
SHANE van Gisbergen has led from pole position to win the Clipsal 500 Adelaide in front of a record single-day crowd for a V8 Supercar race, of 95,000 people.
The Tekno Autosports driver took the first win for the Queensland-based team in emphatic fashion, despite a late race Safety Car bunching an otherwise strung-out field together for a 10-lap dash to the flag.
Tekno Autosports becomes the first team other than Triple Eight and Ford Performance Racing to win a V8 Supercars points-paying race since November 2011 – when Rick Kelly won at Sandown in wet conditions.
Jamie Whincup finished second and race one winner Craig Lowndes third for Red Bull Racing Australia.
Van Gisbergen took the race lead on the second lap, passing Mark Winterbottom to lead the field.
He dropped to second, behind Whincup, after the opening stops but a superior fuel strategy saw him emerge back in the lead of the race following the second round of stops – a lead he would never lose.
“It’s been great... It’s been overwhelming. I’m stoked to put a good race together,” van Gisbergen said.
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“I got off the line alright today, which was awesome. Mark passed me but we were able to get by him.
“It was a tough race, I had good speed in the first and second stints, but when I got behind Jamie, these cars seem to heat up a lot and my pace stopped.
“My pace stopped for a moment and then got going again. I knew our last stop would be shorter so we got a gap, and then managed it. They were a fair way behind us, and then jumped us, so they must have short filled early. We didn’t have to save fuel – we were flat out the whole way.
“Jamie was pretty speedy at the end, but we had enough.”
Lowndes assumes the lead in the V8 Supercars championship following his first and third-placed efforts across this weekend’s two races.
A pair of solid podium finishes has defending champion Whincup second in the, the #1 Red Bull-backed driver much happier with his performance today.
“Our car was much better today, we found quite a big issue last night and now I’m back on par with the other guys and can race it out,” he said.
“It hurts that a Kiwi has won the first round! The pace was pretty hot and we were flat-stick the whole way. It’s good to not be on fuel conserve mode, we were flat out from woah to go.
“We had a little less fuel so I had to be five seconds up the road to keep the lead in the first stint.”
Russell Ingall scored a fighting fourth place finish, with Mark Winterbottom fifth and ahead of Will Davison - slow pit stops hurting both FPR cars throughout today's race.
Davison also battled gearbox issues in the second half of today’s race but preserved to score a solid points finish inside the top-10.
James Courtney, Tony D'Alberto, Scott McLaughlin and Jonathon Webb completed the top 10.
The race’s only Safety Car interruption came with 15 laps remaining, Alex Davison crashing at turn eight after overshooting when passing Scott Pye on the run into the corner.
Davison’s Jeld-Wen Racing car slid across the circuit and into the inside wall, bringing out the caution for the first time in two days of racing.
On the resumption of racing a battle for second erupted, Lowndes squeezing past Whincup at turn six to take point, before Russell Ingall then passing both of them to leapfrog the pair of Blue Holden’s and jump to second.
Lowndes then attempted to re-pass Ingall at turn nine but overshot - allowing Whincup to work his way past into second where he would ultimately finish the race.
There was further damage at the end of the first lap back under green-flag conditions, Jason Bright turning Rick Kelly around at the final corner – the second Jack Daniel’s Nissan of Todd Kelly left with nowhere to go and left badly damaged and out of the race.
James Moffat was the top Nissan finisher, in 13th and on the lead lap, Lee Holdsworth 17th and the last classified finisher and a lap back from the winner.
Unlike yesterday's race, today was a far more bruising affair with just 17 of the 28 starters finishing.
A record 95,000 people attended today's event, taking the four-day total to more than 285,000.