Clipsal 500 Supercars: Van Gisbergen pips McLaughlin in thriller

Shane van Gisbergen hunted down Scott McLaughlin to take a thrilling win in the second leg of the Clipsal 500.

Clipsal 500 Supercars: Van Gisbergen pips McLaughlin in thriller
Race winner Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford
Simona de Silvestro, Nissan Motorsports
Fabian Coulthard, Team Penske Ford
James Courtney, Holden Racing Team
Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Todd Kelly, Nissan Motorsports
Michael Caruso, Nissan Motorsports
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
James Courtney, Holden Racing Team
Todd Kelly, Nissan Motorsports
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Mark Winterbottom, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford
Rick Kelly, Nissan Motorsports
Simona de Silvestro, Nissan Motorsports

The race boiled down to a thrilling battle between van Gisbergen and McLaughlin across the final stint, the Red Bull Holden closing in on McLaughlin and snatching the lead at Turn 9 with three laps to go.

The late-race pass denied McLaughlin a fairytale win on debut for DJR Team Penske.

McLaughlin looked speedy from the get-go, slotting in behind early leader Fabian Coulthard after the two DJR Team Penske Fords got past van Gisbergen on the run to the first corner.

Looking racier than his teammate, McLaughlin opted to make his first stop just eight laps in, smashing the lap record to the tune of half a second once back on track as he put in a stint that saw him in front when the first round of stops shook out.

After a long second stint he left more than five seconds down the road from van Gisbergen, who was left as his only genuine challenger after a mid-race scrap with James Courtney and Coulthard, when the second round of stops were completed.

From there he looked set to cruise to victory, but van Gisbergen had other ideas. The Saturday race winner slowly chipped away at the lead, before being handed the advantage when McLaughlin was given one last warning for kerb strikes 17 laps from the end, leaving him dangling on the edge of a pit lane penalty.

The penalty never came, but van Gisbergen did. He was within striking distance of the leading Ford with three laps to go, McLaughlin yielding to the pressure and running wide at Turn 9 to let van Gisbergen into the lead.

From there he could storm to a second win of the weekend. “What a feeling,” said van Gisbergen. "That race was very tough.

"In the middle I lost a lot of time battling James and Fabian. Then I had to run down Scotty. I could see him sliding, I was saving fuel… but what an awesome weekend.”

“I threw it away,” added McLaughlin. “Shane was fantastic, his car was very fast. I just didn’t quite have the pace in the last stint.”

Prodrive Racing’s Chaz Mostert finished the race third, dropping to the back of the top six with a long first stop before popping out in third after a short second stop.

While he didn’t have the pace to chase down the two leaders, he did have enough to comfortably hold off Courtney and Coulthard, who came home fourth and fifth respectively.

Courtney had his issues along the way, though, running into the back of Simona de Silvestro midway through the race.

Jamie Whincup fought his way up to sixth, knocking Waters back to seventh with six laps to go, before Tim Slade filtered the Prodrive Ford down another spot late in the race when he grabbed seventh for himself.

Todd Kelly and Craig Lowndes rounded out the Top 10. Nick Percat’s chances of replicating his 2016 Clipsal success were dashed on Lap 1.

The South Aussie whacked the wall at Turn 8 while running sixth on Lap 1, running down the escape road at nine before limping back to the pits for a lengthy repair.

He wound up as the race’s only DNF.

Race 2 results:

PosDriverCarLapsGap
1 new_zealand Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 78  
2 new_zealand Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG-X 78 10.1229
3 australia Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG-X 78 19.5440
4 australia James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 78 21.1884
5 new_zealand Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG-X 78 29.5179
6 australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 78 31.4192
7 australia Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 78 33.8695
8 australia Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG-X 78 40.6793
9 australia Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 78 42.1935
10 australia Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 78 43.7710
11 australia Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 78 44.7854
12 australia David Reynolds Holden Commodore VF 78 45.3076
13 australia Will Davison Holden Commodore VF 78 52.5463
14 australia Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG-X 78 55.1830
15 australia Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG-X 78 56.0427
16 australia James Moffat Holden Commodore VF 78 56.7632
17 australia Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 78 59.0761
18 australia Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VF 78 59.8593
19 australia Scott Pye Holden Commodore VF 78 1'16.9726
20 australia Dale Wood Holden Commodore VF 78 1'17.5882
21 australia Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 77 +1 lap
22 australia Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 77 +1 lap
23 switzerland Simona de Silvestro Nissan Altima 77 +1 lap
24 australia Taz Douglas Holden Commodore VF 76 +2 laps
25 australia Alex Rullo Holden Commodore VF 75 +3 laps
 R australia Nick Percat Holden Commodore VF 0  
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Clipsal 500 Supercars: Van Gisbergen beats Penskes to pole

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