Darwin Supercars: Mostert wins opener, slow stop denies van Gisbergen

Chaz Mostert took his second victory of the season in a dramatic opening Supercars sprint race at Hidden Valley after leader Shane van Gisbergen was delayed by a slow pitstop.

Darwin Supercars: Mostert wins opener, slow stop denies van Gisbergen

The race got off to a chaotic start, as poleman Anton De Pasquale was outfoxed by Shane van Gisbergen into Turn 1, the Triple Eight Holden driver drifting right before pulling a surprise move down the inside. 

De Pasquale's Dick Johnson Racing Mustang was then tapped into a spin by Scott Pye, who bounced over the inside kerb, before being hit again by a slow-starting Mark Winterbottom.

There was another few hits coming too, Todd Hazelwood, Jack Smith, Fabian Coulthard and Garry Jacobson all crunching into the poleman's stricken car, with Pye earning a drive-through penalty for his trouble.

The clean-up soaked up the first six laps of the race, the race going green again on lap seven with van Gisbergen leading Nick Percat and Mostert.

They ran in that order until lap 10, when Mostert slid up the inside of Percat into Turn 1. The Walkinshaw Andretti United driver then settled into second, a little over two seconds behind the leader.

At that point it looked like van Gisbergen's race to lose, until he came in for his lap 22 stop. A stubborn right-rear wheel nut meant the service took 30 seconds, the Kiwi re-joining the race way down in 20th.

That left Mostert with a commanding lead, his final margin 12.3s over Cam Waters - who barged his way past Percat during the second stint.

"Starting eighth I was just thinking I hope I get through Turn 1," said Mostert. "Then I lucked in to coming out of Turn 1 in third. 

Race winner Chaz Mostert, Walkinshaw Andretti United

Race winner Chaz Mostert, Walkinshaw Andretti United

Photo by: Edge Photographics

"I was pretty quick at the start and I was a bit worried about that, normally when you have a quick car at the start you get worried that the degradation is going to come. I'm super pumped, it's good to have a fast race car."

Percat finished third on the road but will now face a post-race investigation regarding a breach of the minimum tyre pressure regulations.

His car was clocked with pressures under the minimum 17psi as he rolled down pitlane following his stop, that matter now in the hands of the stewards. 

Fourth came down to a battle between Brodie Kostecki (Erebus Holden) and James Courtney (Tickford Ford), which came to a head three laps from the end when Courtney dived up the inside of Kostecki at Turn 5.

The pair made contact, Kostecki short-cutting the track to Turn 7 to retain his position before being hit with a five-second penalty for an improper re-join. That dropped him from fourth on the road to ninth in the results.

Kostecki's Erebus team-mate Will Brown, racing in the stifling heat without a working cool suit, finished fifth behind Courtney.

Brothers Jake and Kurt Kostecki finished an impressive sixth and seventh ahead of Tim Slade.

Van Gisbergen fought his way back to 13th, one spot behind team-mate Jamie Whincup on what was a tough day for Triple Eight.

That means his series lead was only cut by two points back to 188, although Mostert is now only 190 points behind the Kiwi. 

Race results:

Cla Driver Car Time Gap
1 Australia Chaz Mostert Holden Commodore ZB 48'28.532  
2 Australia Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT 48'40.922 12.390
3 Australia Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 48'43.893 15.361
4 Australia James Courtney Ford Mustang GT 48'49.954 21.421
5 Australia Will Brown Holden Commodore ZB 48'51.847 23.314
6 Australia Jake Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 48'53.295 24.763
7 Australia Kurt Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 48'53.776 25.244
8 Australia Tim Slade Ford Mustang GT 48'54.193 25.660
9 Brodie Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 48'54.262 25.730
10 Australia Thomas Randle Ford Mustang GT 48'54.516 25.984
11 Australia Bryce Fullwood Holden Commodore ZB 48'55.029 26.497
12 Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 48'55.236 26.704
13 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 48'57.042 28.509
14 Australia Will Davison Ford Mustang GT 48'57.772 29.240
15 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner Ford Mustang GT 48'58.622 30.089
16 Australia Zane Goddard Holden Commodore ZB 49'03.882 35.349
17 Australia Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB 49'05.456 36.924
18 Australia Garry Jacobson Holden Commodore ZB 49'05.650 37.117
19 Australia David Reynolds Ford Mustang GT 49'0600000 166:40'31.4673
20 Australia Jack Le Brocq Ford Mustang GT 49'08.155 39.622
21 Australia Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 48'38.273 2 Laps
22 Australia Mark Winterbottom Holden Commodore ZB 48'36.825 9 Laps
  Australia Anton De Pasquale Ford Mustang GT    
  Australia Todd Hazelwood Holden Commodore ZB    
  New Zealand Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore ZB    
  Australia Jack Smith Holden Commodore ZB    
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