Heimgartner wins wet and wild home race

Saturday 20 April, 2024
Photos: Edge Photographics

New Zealander Andre Heimgartner has won a chaotic and exciting opening race at the ITM Taupō 400 in front of a sold-out Kiwi crowd.

Starting under grey skies and pouring rain, the opening lap saw plenty of action and an early safety car. That interruption was caused when pole-sitter Cameron Waters, Tim Slade and Will Brown came together, with Slade ultimately unable to continue after his car was damaged.

The weather didn’t deter the dedicated fans, who turned out in force to watch a competitive 200km of racing in the Supercars’ Championship debut at Taupō Motorsport Park.


Heimgartner, who started the race from third, held on to the lead throughout the race as the pit stops unfolded, avoiding challenges from Chaz Mostert and the two Dick Johnson Racing entries of Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison who ended the race in second and third respectively.

Mostert was in line for a podium finish until a loose wheel saw him forced to crawl back to the lane and end the day as the final classified finisher.

Heimgartner was understandably delighted to salute in front of a passionate home crowd.

"I am a bit speechless," Heimgartner said post-race.

"I had Chaz all over me at the start and then, yeah, I was hoping to drive a bit cooler and then he was catching so fast, I had to just put caution to the wind.

"I was really pushing the last few laps and just had enough... I can't believe it. It was quite slippery, especially when we went back out on the new tyres, it really started raining.

"Great for (team owner) Brad (Jones), you know. He put faith in me a couple years ago, and we've been chipping away, so this year's been hard. I'm speechless."

Supercars return with a qualifying, top 10 shootout and 200km race on Sunday to wrap up festivities in New Zealand on Sunday.

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