Supercars Albert Park: Mostert wins wild opening race

Chaz Mostert won a wild opening Supercars race at Albert Park in which Shane van Gisbergen charged from last to third.

Supercars Albert Park: Mostert wins wild opening race

The field was almost perfectly split in terms of tyre strategy for the opening 20-lap race, with 13 cars starting on the soft tyre and 12 on the hard.

There was perfectly represented at the front of the field, where the likes of David Reynolds and Mostert started on the soft and Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison started on the hard.

That made life easy on polesitter Reynolds at the start, although Mostert was able to clear the DJR cars at the first corner to make sure he stayed on Reynolds' bumper.

It quickly became evident that the WAU car was quicker than the Grove Mustang, Mostert passing Reynolds to grab the lead at the last corner on lap three. From there Mostert comfortably led the first stint until pitting to switch to hard compound tyres on lap seven.

By that point both DJR cars had already pitted for softs, which gave them the undercut needed to jump Mostert, with De Pasquale (in on lap four) leading Davison (a pit caller on lap three).

But the early stops made it difficult for the DJR drivers to keep their softs alive and Mostert duly caught them with nine laps to go, first passing Davison for second before taking the lead from De Pasquale at Turn 11 two laps later. From there, Mostert was free to cruise to a 7.6s win.

"I don't think many people expected the race to be what it was," said Mostert.

"Strategy helped our race. We went aggressive and it ended up being the safer option.

Start of Race 1

Start of Race 1

Photo by: Mark Horsburgh, Edge Photographics

"I'm just happy, any time you win in this category it's amazing. We weren't that strong through practice and qualifying but the car is getting faster and faster."

Things only got worse for the DJR cars in the closing stages of the race as they tried to nurse the softs to the end.

Davison was quickly caught and passed by Reynolds before deciding to make a second stop to change back to hards, which dropped him to 16th at the finish.

De Pasquale, meanwhile, suffered a puncture with four laps to go and ended up way down in 23rd.

Reynolds held on to second place at the finish, although he did so under some pressure from van Gisbergen, who was badly caught out by a red flag in qualifying caused by Jake Kostecki crashing his Tickford Ford at Turn 5. The Kiwi had returned to pitlane after copping a kerb strike on his first lap, and didn't get out in time before the red flag.

But van Gisbergen put in a masterful drive from the very back of the grid to end up third thanks to some sharp strategic work and excellent on-track passing.

Starting on the softs, the defending champion went from dead last to 16th on the first lap and was inside the top 10 by lap five.

He then jumped onto the hard tyre for the second stint and continued his march forward. The podium winning move came on Mostert's WAU team-mate Nick Percat with a couple of laps to go, sealing the remarkable comeback following his qualifying dramas.

Tim Slade ended up fourth after also getting through Percat at the end, while Macauley Jones put in a very solid drive to grab sixth place.

Mark Winterbottom was seventh followed by Broc Feeney, Garry Jacobson and Bryce Fullwood.

Van Gisbergen now leads the championship by 129 points over De Pasquale, with Mostert in third, 131 points adrift.

The Melbourne 400 continues with two 20-lap sprint races tomorrow.

shares
comments
Formula 1 drivers to drive Supercars at Albert Park
Previous article

Formula 1 drivers to drive Supercars at Albert Park

Next article

Supercars Albert Park: Van Gisbergen dominates second race

Supercars Albert Park: Van Gisbergen dominates second race
When Nissan ruled Australia with its 'Godzilla' Group A special Plus

When Nissan ruled Australia with its 'Godzilla' Group A special

The Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R was the fastest Group A touring car ever. It cleaned up at the Bathurst 1000 and in the Australian Touring Car Championship, and is fondly remembered by the drivers who monstered it to success on the world-famous Mount Panorama

Supercars
Feb 8, 2022
Ranking the top 10 Supercars drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 Supercars drivers of 2021

It may have been a one-man title fight in Supercars this season, but behind dominant champion Shane van Gisbergen were some fascinating performances. Autosport picks out the best drivers of the 2021 campaign.

Supercars
Dec 10, 2021
The well-travelled racer now Supercars' elder statesman Plus

The well-travelled racer now Supercars' elder statesman

James Courtney has been around the block in his motorsport career it's fair to say. After a single-seater career cut short, he's won everything there is to win in Supercars. Following a rocky ride recently in the Australian category, he's found a happy hunting ground with Tickford Racing, as Andrew van Leeuwen explains

Supercars
Oct 19, 2021
How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star Plus

How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star

His decision to leave Brad Jones Racing was the biggest shock of the Australian Supercars silly season so far. But for Nick Percat, it comes as the culmination of a personal journey that has made him into one of the most rounded drivers in the series, now in search of a seat that can make him a champion

Supercars
Sep 16, 2021
Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8 Plus

Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8

On the face of it, picking an 18-year-old rookie to replace arguably the greatest Supercars driver of all time is a risky move. But as Jamie Whincup takes up a team principal role and hands his car to Broc Feeney, it's one that he is confident will be rewarded in the fullness of time - time which wasn't afforded to Whincup in his early days

Supercars
Aug 31, 2021
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Plus

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

OPINION: Roger Penske's operation helped lift Dick Johnson's faltering Ford team back to the top of Australian tin-tops. But, despite The Captain's departure, along with star driver Scott McLaughlin, there's no reason to expect an imminent decline from DJR

Supercars
Feb 26, 2021
Why Whincup's next move is no calculated gamble Plus

Why Whincup's next move is no calculated gamble

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But the team's outgoing boss Roland Dane has full faith that he'll be up to the task

Supercars
Feb 5, 2021
The top 10 Supercars drivers of 2020 Plus

The top 10 Supercars drivers of 2020

In a year of few constants, the Australian Supercars championship could be relied upon for its usual blend of rough and tumble racing with a V8 soundtrack. But who were its top performers in 2020?

Supercars
Dec 27, 2020