Shane van Gisbergen has won the Coates Hire V8 Supercars Challenge at the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix after winning the final race around the Albert Park street circuit.
The speedy Kiwi won three of the four races across the weekend, but ultimately went unchallenged for the event win when teammate Jamie Whincup’s car pulled to a stop on the track just three laps into the final race.
“It was an awesome finish to the weekend,”said van Gisbergen. “Great to have worked so closely with Grant (McPherson) to get the results we were after. It was a good change from yesterday.
“The first few laps I thought we were in a bit of trouble, it was an exciting few laps. But, I managed to pull ahead and fight the good fight. Our new set up gave us some really good speed, we had good grip in the tyres and drove away in the lead early on. Stoked to be a part of the team and have such a good weekend with great cars, I am looking forward to the next championship round.”
A 1.26 second margin over DJR Team Penske’s Fabian Coulthard locked it away, the New Zealanders leading Craig Lowndes and James Courtney home in the 12-lap dash.
“I’m pretty happy to see how our team has progressed as the weekend has gone on,” commented Coulthard. “It’s been a consistent weekend, and to round the weekend off with a podium for DJR Team Penske is pretty cool,” Coulthard said after his second place finish.
This weekend was the Kiwi’s second outing with the newly expanded team, and while Coulthard is still learning about the Ford Falcon FG X, he was able to lock in two fourth place finishes, a fifth and a second across the meeting.
Van Gisbergen took the lead from the rolling start, with Coulthard getting a good jump into second.
Chaz Mostert rubbed panels with Holden Racing Team drivers Garth Tander and James Courtney, and Courtney – who was inducted into the CAMS Hall of Fame last night – traded knocks with Nissan’s Michael Caruso for fourth position.
Champion Mark Winterbottom couldn’t make it up further than 11th, and while Todd Kelly finished 20th his Nissan made the race distance, with no repeat of the mystery issue suffered this weekend.
Fellow Kiwis Scott McLaughlin finished 12th (Wilson Security Racing GRM), Andre Heimgartner (LD Motorsports) 22nd and Chris Pither 23rd (Super Black Racing).
The V8 Supercars return to the track for the next Championship round in Tasmania from April 1-3.