Contenders react to wild Supercars race

The front-runners from a wild Supercars opener at Sandown have talked through the record-breaking race.

Contenders react to wild Supercars race
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Shane van Gisbergen won from 17th on the grid, an ATCC/Supercars record for single-driver races at Sandown, despite having broken his collarbone less than a fortnight ago.

The key to his win was an overcut strategy, van Gisbergen waiting until the 25th of 36 laps to make his mandatory stop.

That gave him the best tyre condition for the run home, his cause helped by Chaz Mostert – who was on an undercut strategy after a poor start from pole – holding the lead pack up on his tyres that had been fitted on Lap 8.

Mostert playing road block helped van Gisbergen climb onto the back of the lead group that also included Cam Waters and Jamie Whincup to set up a wild four-way battle for the lead that went down to the last lap. 

According to van Gisbergen the critical moment was his ballsy pass on both Whincup and Mostert into Turn 2/3 on the second-last lap.

"I had a good first lap, saved the tyres and then started picking guys off," he said.

"Everyone ran a bit longer than I thought, but [the overcut] still worked for us. I had a terrible out-lap, I got caught up with James [Courtney] and then I had a lot of understeer. But after three laps it came good. 

"I saw Chaz was struggling and I hoped he would back everyone up, and he did. It was a bit of a risky move at Turn 2, but that's probably what won the race.

"It's probably not smart to make it three-wide, but being on the inside is the safest place and it worked quite well."

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Waters and Whincup, who finished second and third respectively, both said not clearing Mostert quickly enough made the difference. 

"Chaz was hurting, I could see that, but every time I got close to Chazzie, J-Dub decided he wanted to have a crack at me," said Waters. "Those three, four laps are what got Shane back in the race. 

"We had so much fun, massive kudos to Shane for what he's achieved with his shoulder. Massive respect. He deserved that race, he did everything he needed to do."

Whincup added: "It was quite eventful from where I was sitting. We passed a few cars and we got passed by some cars as well. 

"We were following Cam on the same tyre strategy. I had a few goes, we sort of tripped over each other a little bit. Chazzie did great job, he was hanging in there on those very old tyres for lap after lap. And then SVG had great pace and that big lunge down into [Turn] 2. 

"It was good that nobody shunted, nobody is punching on back in the pits. We all raced hard, it was all pretty gnarly, and we all got through unscathed."

Mostert, meanwhile, was left to lament his poor start and the ultimately unsuccessful call to go for the undercut.

“Obviously [we went] the wrong way today,” he told Fox Sports.

“[I'm] Just disappointed. To start off pole and go back to finish sixth and struggling at the end with nothing to fight for, I feel a bit defeated today.

“We probably read it a little bit wrong. We thought people would dive in early and we were about the only one early, so obviously everyone read the other book.

“It’s the way the game is. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and today it just didn’t work out for us.”

Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering passes Cam Waters, Tickford Ford for the lead

Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering passes Cam Waters, Tickford Ford for the lead

Photo by: Mark Horsburgh, Edge Photographics

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