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Supercars New Zealand: Heimgartner splashes to Taupo opener victory

Andre Heimgartner has turned a terrible Supercars season around with an impressive victory in a wet opener to the third round of the season in New Zealand.

Start crash action

Photo by: Edge Photographics

The Auckland-born driver took the lead after the first of two pit cycles on a wet 3.3km Taupō International Motorsport Park.

Heimgartner took advantage of Brad Jones Racing's ace pitcrew, the nearly perennial winner of Supercars’ teams pitstop ratings, to jump past early leader Will Brown (Triple Eight Chevrolet), and held off Chaz Mostert for most of the first half of the race.

When Mostert fell from contention when a right-rear wheel came adrift immediately after his second stop, Heimgartner motored home to take a 1.01s victory.

“I am speechless,” said Heimgartner, whose results in the last five races have been 18th, 18th, 14th, 20th and 17th.

“I was hoping to drive a bit cooler but he [Mostert] was throwing caution to the wind. It was quite slippery, especially when we went out on the new tyres. I always love the wet, it’s always good fun!”

Second and third were Dick Johnson’s two drivers Will Davison and Anton de Pasquale, and like Heimgartner it was an eye-opening reversal of form after both of their Ford Mustangs struggled for speed at the previous round at Albert Park.

Start crash action

Start crash action

Photo by: Edge Photographics

Fourth place was impressive rookie Ryan Wood, as the 20-year-old New Zealander stayed clear of a number of early incidents and was dazzling in the changeable conditions to give Walkinshaw Andretti United a reward for showing faith in such a young driver.

Brown, who brought a 17-point championship points lead to New Zealand, finished fifth on the road but ninth in the overall results, after picking up a penalty from an incident at the start of the race after one of his wheelnuts rolled across the pitlane.

Jack Le Brocq flew the flag for Erebus Motorsport with a promoted fifth place after a heady drive from 16th on the grid, though it was a low-key return to Supercars for his team-mate Brodie Kostecki.

After starting mid-pack the 2023 champion finished in 16th place, after picking up a 15-second time penalty for carting James Courtney off the circuit on lap 15.

Richie Stanaway went from 23rd to sixth, having been up and down the field, giving the soaked local fans three of their countrymen in the top six.

James Golding (PremiAir Racing Chevrolet) and polesitter Cam Waters (Tickford Ford) were next, Waters making ground after being caught up in a startline incident, as Brown and Jaxon Evans rounded out the top 10.

The net result means that Brown (659) has extended his points lead over Feeney (600), with Mostert third on 517. With his strong drive Stanaway jumps to fourth on 454 ahead of Nick Percat.

A second 60-lap race is set for Sunday at 3:05pm local time.

Supercars New Zealand - Race 1 results

   
1
 - 
3
   
   
1
 - 
2
   
Cla Driver Car Laps Time Interval Retirement Points
1 New Zealand A. Heimgartner R&J Batteries Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 60

-

    150
2 Australia W. Davison Dick Johnson Racing Ford Mustang GT 60

+1.101

1.1012

1.101   138
3 Australia A. De Pasquale Dick Johnson Racing Ford Mustang GT 60

+2.564

2.5641

1.463   129
4
R. Wood Mobil 1 Truck Assist Racing
Ford Mustang GT 60

+3.932

3.9318

1.368   120
5 Australia J. Le Brocq Erebus Motorsport Penrite Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 60

+21.254

21.2535

17.322   111
6 New Zealand R. Stanaway Penrite Racing Ford Mustang GT 60

+23.134

23.1340

1.881   102
7 Australia J. Golding PremiAir Nulon Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 60

+26.341

26.3405

3.207   96
8 Australia C. Waters Monster Castrol Racing Ford Mustang GT 60

+30.545

30.5452

4.205   90
9 Australia W. Brown Red Bull Ampol Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 60

+30.935

30.9350

0.390   84
10 Australia J. Evans SCT Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 60

+35.546

35.5458

4.611   78
11 Australia M. Winterbottom DEWALT Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 60

+36.952

36.9515

1.406   72
12 Australia T. Randle Monster Castrol Racing Ford Mustang GT 60

+39.317

39.3165

2.365   69
13
M. Payne Penrite Racing
Ford Mustang GT 60

+42.248

42.2476

2.931   66
14
B. Kostecki Erebus Motorsport Penrite
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 60

+46.822

46.8215

4.574   63
15
A. Love Brad Jones Racing
Ford Mustang GT 60

+49.169

49.1686

2.347   60
16 Australia D. Reynolds Tradie Beer Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 60

+49.489

49.4887

0.320   57
17 Australia J. Courtney Snowy River Racing Ford Mustang GT 60

+57.761

57.7610

8.272   54
18 Australia M. Jones Pizza Hut Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 60

+1'06.955

1'06.9547

9.194   51
19 Australia N. Percat Bendix Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 60

+1'08.585

1'08.5850

1.630   48
20
C. Hill Tyrepower Racing
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 60

+1'08.794

1'08.7944

0.209   45
21
B. Feeney Red Bull Ampol Racing
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 60

+1'18.266

1'18.2664

9.472   42
22 Australia C. Mostert Mobil 1 Optus Racing Ford Mustang GT 59

1 lap

    39
  Australia B. Fullwood Middy's Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 7

 

  Retirement  
  Australia T. Slade PremiAir Nulon Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gen3 0

 

  Retirement  

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