Wet weather specialist Shane van Gisbergen has won the year’s final V8 Supercars race in torrential conditions, following on from yesterday’s rain-affected run at the Sydney NRMA 500.
Van Gisbergen’s victory means he catapults into second position in the Championship, knocking off Mark Winterbottom, who had a shocking run across the Sydney races, topped off with a lap one spin today.
However the race was cut short because of the conditions, suspended with 30 laps to go and unable to be restarted with rain falling heavily.
Before the race van Gisbergen told v8supercars.com.au he didn’t want to know the points difference between the two – but another gutsy drive saw him bridge the 87 point gap and take second by just 15 points.
The V8 Supercars began the race on wet weather tyres, but it fined up long enough to see an intense early battle between van Gisbergen and pole sitter Scott McLaughlin.
A great start from Garth Tander saw him lead early, and as van Gisbergen’s TEKNO Commodore edged closer, it was on between the two for the top spot.
As rain began to hammer down, Tander spun off track seconds before the Safety Car was called and the race was suspended, having to settle for second place.
“It was too dangerous,” winner van Gisbergen said.
“We all want to race and down the front straight we were aquaplaning… it’s not very nice.
“As soon as I touched the brake pedal the front tyre locked up… you just do everything you and to keep Shane behind. He was pretty fast in the dry, fast in the wet.”
Tander agreed the conditions meant the race was not driveable.
“The conditions out there on the track – people don’t really know how bad it is. It is so sketchy, you can’t see where the track ends and the walls start,” he said.
Of his slide before safety car, he said: “As soon as I touched the brake pedal the front tyre locked up… you just do everything you an to keep shane behind. He was pretty fast in the dry, fast in the wet.”
Holden Racing Team stable-mate James Courtney completed the podium for the final race of the season, ahead of Champion Elect Jamie Whincup, Chaz Mostert, Tim Slade and Rick Kelly.
Scott McLaughlin, Jason Bright and Will Davison rounded out the top ten.
Returning star Marcos Ambrose had a better showing today after a change to the brake master in his Falcon overnight, finishing 16th and recording a fastest lap just 0.01sec slower than DJR stablemate David Wall.