V8SC: Wet-Weather Wonder; van Gisbergen Goes Two-For-Two in Eastern Creek

Jacob Seelman Featured, International, Supercars 0 Comments

EASTERN CREEK, New South Wales, Australia – Race report by Managing Editor Jacob Seelman for Race Chaser Online — V8 Supercars photo – Call him the king of the rain.

Shane van Gisbergen, driving the Team TEKNO V.I.P. Petfoods Holden Commodore, wrested the lead away from five-time V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup on the opening lap of Saturday’s second 100km sprint race at a rain-soaked Sydney Motorsport Park and fended off Chaz Mostert in the closing stages to claim his second straight V8 Supercars Championship win in Race 27 of the series calendar. The event was shortened to 24 laps from its originally-scheduled 26 lap distance due to time constraints.

The victory was van Gisbergen’s seventh career V8SC victory and third of the 2014 championship, allowing him to close within six points of James Courtney for fourth in the points standings.

“It was really cool. I had to fight for it on that one!” an ecstatic van Gisbergen expressed on the winner’s podium. “After the Safety Car, my tires were gone, and I had to hold off Chaz (Mostert). He was running some good lines, so I tried to look out my mirror and copy him a bit.”

Despite a valiant charge to get to second on the lap 20 restart following the Safety Car period for Scott Pye looping his machine off the road, Mostert simply couldn’t run down SvG at the end.

“Learned some good lines from Jamie. The car wasn’t all that good, but once I learned the lines, the car was excellent,” Mostert, who started 11th, said following the race. “It’s not every day you get to beat the champ, so I’ll take this one home!”

Jamie Whincup completed the podium in third and extended his championship lead over Mark Winterbottom to 69 points. Winterbottom finished outside the top ten for the second straight race, coming home in 12th at the checkered flag.

“Good fun, it was good fun, my car was good, just kept mowing the grass, that was my only problem!” Whincup said of his race.

Jason Bright rebounded after stalling on the initial start to finish fourth, and Will Davison rounded out the top five.

Scott McLaughlin qualified on pole for Race 27 after nearly missing the grid due to an engine change following Race 26, and the opening corner saw the leaders going four-wide down into turn 1  before van Gisbergen emerged from the fray with the race lead. McLaughlin fell off the pace quickly as the right rear tire on his Volvo came off the car, and the first of two Safety Car periods emerged one lap later when his teammate Robert Dahlgren smacked the wall in turn 5.

“It’s tough, but these boys were working so hard on the front of the car, they may have missed something at the back,” McLaughlin said, disappointed after climbing from his car.

Van Gisbergen led the way on the restart as Whincup and James Moffat scrapped for position behind him, allowing the No. 97 to open up a lead of more than 7 seconds at times before the final Safety Car period at lap 16 for Pye’s spin. That set up the race-deciding restart, where Mostert could close to the rear bumper of van Gisbergen, but could never make the decisive pass for the win.

In the final laps, two separate incidents saw drivers go off the road late. The first crash involved the Holden of Garth Tander and the Jack Daniel’s entry of Todd Kelly, which saw Tander stuck in the sand and out of the event.

“Broke the front of the car, and it’s out of the race,” a disgusted Tander said over the radio.

The second incident involved teammates Nick Percat and Russell Ingall which saw Ingall muscle Percat’s machine out of the way with a lap and a half to go. Percat as well ended up off the road before race’s end.

The V8 Supercars Championship continues tomorrow with Race 28, the 200km finale race for the Sydney Motorsport Park 400 in Eastern Creek. Action begins at 3:45 PM Australian time, 1:45 AM Eastern time in the U.S.

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