Townsville Supercars: Van Gisbergen beats Whincup in opener

Shane van Gisbergen beat Triple Eight team-mate Jamie Whincup to victory in the opening leg of the Supercars Townsville 500. 

Townsville Supercars: Van Gisbergen beats Whincup in opener

It was Whincup that got the best start, the seven-time series champion jumping polesitter van Gisbergen on the long run through Turn 1 and into Turn 2.

Behind the two Red Bull Holdens the big winner on the first lap was James Courtney, who barged his way down the inside of both Dick Johnson Racing cars at Turn 2 to grab third spot.

Whincup then steadily edged away from his team-mate across the first stint, the gap stabilising at around three seconds. 

Courtney, meanwhile, didn't quite make it to the end of the first stint in third place. Having shadowed van Gisbergen in the early stages, his pace dropped off dramatically around the lap 20 mark. 

That brought Anton De Pasquale into the game, the DJR Mustang sliding down the inside of the Tickford Ford at Turn 13 on lap 23.

Courtney then dropped behind Percat before taking his first stop on lap 27, a lock-up on his out-lap then taking him right out of contention. 

Whincup took his first stop on lap 29, while van Gisbergen stretched his first stint until lap 33, took on more fuel and dropped back to third behind De Pasquale.

Van Gisbergen wasn't there for long, though, quickly reclaiming second spot on lap 36.

By then Whincup was more than nine seconds down the road, but the gap didn't last. Van Gisbergen was able to chase Whincup down across the second stint, just two seconds between then when Whincup made his second stop on lap 58 of 87.

Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering

Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering

Photo by: Triple Eight Race Engineering

Van Gisbergen ran long again, his second service coming on lap 64. Whincup initially had a four second lead after his team-mate's stop, but, with better tyre condition, van Gisbergen quickly made ground. 

Within a couple of laps the gap was less than a second, van Gisbergen then sliding down the inside of his team-mate at Turn 11 on lap 70.

With more than a quarter of a minute to the rest of the field, the T8 drivers could then cruise to a comfortable one-two, 7.3s separating them at the finish.

Van Gisbergen's only concern at the finish was his fitness, as he continued to recover from a collarbone injury sustained earlier in the year. 

De Pasquale finished a lonely third ahead of Percat. David Reynolds was fifth, despite spending most of the third stint with mirrors full of Tim Slade.

Will Davison had been running in a comfortable fifth until three laps from the end, when he was forced to make a third stop due to a miscalculation on the minimum fuel drop. That left him ninth at the chequered flag.

The Townsville 500 continues with a second 250-kilometre race tomorrow. 

Race results:

Cla Driver Car Laps Time
1 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 87  
2 Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 87 7.368
3 Australia Anton De Pasquale Ford Mustang GT 87 37.453
4 Australia Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 87 48.879
5 Australia David Reynolds Ford Mustang GT 87 51.354
6 Australia Tim Slade Ford Mustang GT 87 51.986
7 Australia James Courtney Ford Mustang GT 87 1'00.213
8 Australia Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT 86 1 lap
9 Australia Will Davison Ford Mustang GT 86 1 lap
10 Australia Mark Winterbottom Holden Commodore ZB 86 1 lap
11 Australia Bryce Fullwood Holden Commodore ZB 86 1 lap
12 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner Ford Mustang GT 86 1 lap
13 Brodie Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 86 1 lap
14 Australia Chaz Mostert Holden Commodore ZB 86 1 lap
15 Australia Jack Le Brocq Ford Mustang GT 86 1 lap
16 Australia Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB 86 1 lap
17 Australia Jack Smith Holden Commodore ZB 86 1 lap
18 Australia Will Brown Holden Commodore ZB 86 1 lap
19 Australia Jake Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 86 1 lap
20 Australia Garry Jacobson Holden Commodore ZB 86 1 lap
21 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore ZB 85 2 laps
22 Australia Todd Hazelwood Holden Commodore ZB 79 8 laps
23 Australia Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 77 10 laps
24 Australia Zane Goddard Holden Commodore ZB 76 11 laps
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Townsville Supercars: Van Gisbergen passes Whincup for clean sweep

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