van Gisbergen continues Championship charge
Saturday 10 July, 2021
Shane van Gisbergen has won the opening race in Townsville
Photo: Edge Photographics
Red Bull Ampol Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen has claimed maximum points in the opening race of the nti Townsville 500.
van Gisbergen didn’t have it all his own way for Saturday’s opening race, with teammate Jamie Whincup jumping the Championship leader at the start of the 88 lap affair, but after all stops were completed, van Gisbergen and his tyre strategy were too good and the 97 stormed home to take the race win, using his fresher tyres to overtake Whincup in the closing stages.
Shell V Power DJR’s Anton de Pasquale rounded out the podium in third, but was around 30 seconds down the road from the leading duo, highlighting the gap the rest of the field has to make up in tomorrow’s race.
It was a largely incident free race, with the Safety Car not making an appearance at the Reid Park street circuit.
With two compulsory pit stops required in each of this weekend’s races, it meant the 250km race saw plenty of differing strategies with both tyres and fuel drops seeing drivers approach the day with different strategies.
Despite the dominance of the Red Bull Holdens, race winner van Gisbergen admitted it wasn’t an easy day behind the wheel, with drivers returning to the longer race format for the first time in some months.
“I’m pretty wrecked… it was real tough tomorrow will be tough too,” van Gisbergen said post-race.
“It was good fun, I knew I had one shot to (get past Whincup in the final stint) before the tyre was cooked and it was real cool.”
Perhaps the biggest drama of the race came when Championship contender Will Davison had to make a third pit stop at the end of the race, after the team confirmed it had failed to complete the 140 litre fuel drop, seeing the number 17 finish in ninth.
Drivers and teams will have to do it all again tomorrow, with qualifying for the second 250km race getting underway at 10.10am AEST on Sunday.
Click here for the full results.