The Bend Supercars: Heimgartner wins despite penalty

Andre Heimgartner took a career-first Supercars race win at The Bend despite having to clear a five-second penalty. 

The Bend Supercars: Heimgartner wins despite penalty

The race got off to a wild start in damp conditions, with three different leaders on the opening lap.

The first was Chaz Mostert, who got the best of the start from the outside of the front row. 

Behind him Heimgartner and Anton De Pasquale bashed doors as they squabbled over second place, the latter winning out after running side-by-side through the first couple of corners.

Mostert then ran wide which allowed De Pasquale to grab the lead, only for the Dick Johnson Racing driver to run wide himself at the very next corner.

That opened the door for Heimgartner to slide into the lead.

Once in front there was no stopping the Kelly Grove Racing ace, a dominant first stint leaving him 7s clear of the field.

KGR then very nearly threw the win away with a costly mistake during Heimgartner's Lap 7 stop. He was released straight into the side of Jamie Whincup resulting in a five-second penalty.

He had the pace to build the gap, but spent the rest of the race at risk of a late Safety Car costing him dearly. 

Luckily for him the race ran green to the end, Heimgartner taking a career-first Supercars win by 3.9s once the penalty was applied.

"[The team] never told me [about the penalty]. I knew. When we had contact I was like, oh geez that just made it a lot harder for myself and I knew I had to get five seconds," said Heimgartner. 

"On the last lap it was 4.5 seconds so I just knew but they didn’t tell me. 

"I’m just over the moon that I was able to get that five seconds and get the win.

“I’m just relieved. It’s been a long time, I was in and out of the category. Thankfully Todd [Kelly] gave me the chance to come back into the category and race for his team and it’s been really good so far."

Mostert finished second ahead of De Pasquale and Cam Waters, the Ford pair spending the last few laps locked in battle with Nick Percat.

The BJR driver was a surprise contender in the race after starting dead last off the back of the team's horror showing in qualifying. 

The team then opted to start three of its cars, including Percat, on slicks, a move that paid off beautifully. The slick quickly became the tyre to be on, Percat able to run long – until four laps from home – as he moved his way up the field.

He re-joined fourth after making his stop and was in the fight for the podium, only to make a small mistake on the last lap. That meant he had to settle for fifth.

Triple Eight had a tough day by its standards, headlined by jammed air spike hose during Shane van Gisbergen's stop.

The Kiwi then made good headway only to take an off-track excursion with a few laps to go. 

The points leader ended up seventh, one place behind teammate Jamie Whincup. 

Race results:

Cla # Driver Car Gap
1 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner
Ford Mustang GT
2 25 Australia Chaz Mostert
Holden Commodore ZB 3.979
3 11 Australia Anton De Pasquale
Ford Mustang GT 8.913
4 6 Australia Cameron Waters
Ford Mustang GT 10.459
5 8 Australia Nick Percat
Holden Commodore ZB 10.778
6 88 Australia Jamie Whincup
Holden Commodore ZB 11.916
7 97 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen
Holden Commodore ZB 25.374
8 17 Australia Will Davison
Ford Mustang GT 27.450
9 99 Brodie Kostecki
Holden Commodore ZB 31.996
10 5 Australia Jack Le Brocq
Ford Mustang GT 33.386
11 9 Australia Will Brown
Holden Commodore ZB 36.619
12 44 Australia James Courtney
Ford Mustang GT 37.802
13 20 Australia Scott Pye
Holden Commodore ZB 39.447
14 3 Australia Tim Slade
Ford Mustang GT 39.766
15 14 Australia Todd Hazelwood
Holden Commodore ZB 43.555
16 2 Australia Bryce Fullwood
Holden Commodore ZB 43.721
17 55 Australia Thomas Randle
Ford Mustang GT 44.567
18 35 Australia Zane Goddard
Holden Commodore ZB 45.857
19 27 Australia Kurt Kostecki
Holden Commodore ZB 55.247
20 19 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard
Holden Commodore ZB 55.638
21 34 Australia Jake Kostecki
Holden Commodore ZB 1'00.297
22 96 Australia Macauley Jones
Holden Commodore ZB 1'00.351
23 4 Australia Jack Smith
Holden Commodore ZB 1'17.281
24 22 Australia Garry Jacobson
Holden Commodore ZB 1'32.548
25 18 Australia Mark Winterbottom
Holden Commodore ZB 2 Laps
26 Australia David Reynolds
Ford Mustang GT 13 Laps
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