van Gisbergen on top in Townsville

Monday 08 July, 2019
Photos: Ross Gibb

Shane van Gisbergen claimed Sunday honours at a wet and wild afternoon on Townsville’s Watpac 400.

Breaking the impressive run of wins of Championship leader Scott McLaughlin, van Gisbergen edged out Fabian Coulthard and Cameron Waters in a race that had plenty of action, including rain, safety cars and retirements.

van Gisbergen praised his team for giving him the right strategy to sit atop the top step on Sunday.

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“It’s been a tough year for us. We’re getting better, but that one wasn’t me for sure, it was Shippy (engineer Grant McPherson) and the boys,” van Gisbergen said.

“I was really struggling, struggling to keep my head when we didn’t have the grip. They kept it under control and kept me focused until the end. That’s a real team victory.”

After tangling on the first lap, Championship leader McLaughlin clashed with David Reynolds, both adamant the other was to blame. The clash ending McLaughlin’s run of victories, with the Ford Mustang driver finishing in 11th.

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Pit lane heroics

One of the biggest talking points of Sunday’s race came not on track, but in pit lane were the impressive work of fire marshals and pit crews in putting out a fuel fire was the talk of the paddock.

A faulty fuel hose at Brad Jones Racing saw a Nick Percat pit stop turn nasty when a fuel spill ignited, but officials and neighbouring pit crews jumped into action immediately to prevent the spread of the fire.

“We had a fire, I felt like everyone did their job properly. I was right in the middle of it, the ones that needed to move did, the ones that needed to put the fire out did,” Brad Jones said post-race.

“We got great help from Walkinshaw and the CoolDrive team came in, and the fire was out really quickly.

“I felt like everything that could be done once the situation had started was pretty well executed.”

CAMS Officials have opened an investigation into the fire which is now ongoing.

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McLaughlin banks more points on Saturday

While he had a Sunday to forget, the opening race of the weekend gave the Shell V Power driver plenty to smile about.

Extending his lead at the top of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship standings, McLaughlin powered home to win his sixth race in a row.

Starting from third on the grid, the number 17 Mustang enjoyed some entertaining battles with both Jamie Whincup and Chaz Mostert, but ultimately did enough to edge himself closer to back-to-back Championships.

The racing action continues in Queensland this month, with teams to head to Ipswich’s Queensland Raceway for the next round of the Championship.

The Ipswich SuperSprint takes place on 26-28 July.

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