Shane van Gisbergen is finally a Bathurst 1000 winner, after he and Garth Tander took a thrilling Great Race victory in Holden’s final event as a factory team in Supercars.
Van Gisbergen took control of the race shortly before the mid-way point, using a short burst of rain to wrangle a lead that the #97 would effectively hold for the rest of the afternoon.
But it was not a straightforward win, as two restarts in the last nine laps kept Cam Waters in the game right until the finish.
However, thanks to a brilliant drive after the final restart – van Gisbergen setting the fastest lap of the race on the second last tour – there was one last Bathurst win for the Holden Racing Team.
“It’s just awesome,” said van Gisbergen.
“The last few laps were really rough with the safety cars but the team did a faultless job, the car got better all weekend.
“Thanks to Garth, he did an awesome job – I just wish mum and dad were here.
“I knew as long as I got through Turn 2 [on the restarts] I’d be fine.
“Each time [Waters] got pretty close, but I got through Turn 2 with good grip and knew I’d be OK.
“But man, all those last three stints were qualifying laps. Just awesome.”
Scott McLaughlin had led the early stages of the race but the Penske Ford driver began to struggle as the rain came, while van Gisbergen surged into the lead.
The second half of the race started with the co-drivers completing their stints, Tander leading Tim Slade (in for McLaughlin), Will Davison and Tony D’Alberto.
That was until a safety car on lap 97 of 161 kicked off the next round of stops.
While Tander, Davison and D’Alberto were done for the day and could hand over to their respective primary drivers, Slade hadn’t quite hit his minimum target – which meant another stint, against the aces.
That meant the #17 dropped to the back of the lead group, Waters passing Slade for second at the restart, before Chaz Mostert and Fabian Coulthard worked their way ahead too.
On lap 115, with Slade in fifth and 15 seconds off leader van Gisbergen, the #17 pitted for McLaughlin to take over for the run home.
Van Gisbergen continued to lead Waters and the two leaders made their final stops together on lap 141, van Gisbergen coming in with a 3s gap, but leaving with barely a couple of tenths to his name.
Part of the difference was an aggressive pit entry from Waters, while van Gisbergen was slightly delayed on the way out as Coulthard came across his pit bay.
Just as van Gisbergen reclaimed the upper hand in the battle, the race was neutralised again, two separate incidents bringing out the safety car.
Van Gisbergen successfully got through the restart with six laps to go, but again it was short-lived. Within a lap the yellow flags were flying again, courtesy of Zane Goddard whacking the wall at McPhillamy Park.
That meant one last safety car with three laps to go, which is where van Gisbergen really shined.
He set the fastest final sector on the restart lap, before logging the fastest time of the whole race on the penultimate tour.
That sealed the deal, van Gisbergen crossing the line for his first Bathurst win, and Tander’s fourth – on the 20th anniversary of his maiden triumph with Garry Rogers Motorsport back in 2000.
Waters and Davison were second, as Mostert crossed the line third.
The Penske Fords were next, Coulthard/D’Alberto leading McLaughlin/Slade, while Scott Pye and Dean Fiore were sixth.
Elsewhere, there was misery for seven-time series champion Jamie Whincup, who hit the wall at The Cutting early on while battling Brodie Kostecki for fourth place.
Bathurst 1000 result – 161 laps
|1||S.Gisbergen, G.Tander||Triple Eight||Holden||6h10m56.1143s|
|4||F.Coulthard, T.D’Alberto||DJR Penske||Ford||2.1617s|
|5||S.McLaughlin, T.Slade||DJR Penske||Ford||2.7113s|
|9||A.De Pasquale, B.Kostecki||Erebus||Holden||7.6448s|
|13||M.Jones, T.Blanchard||Tim Blanchard||Holden||9.4580s|
|14||J.Le Brocq, J.Moffat||Tickford||Ford||11.4712s|
|15||D.Reynolds, W.Brown||Erebus||Holden||1 Lap|
|16||C.Pither, S.Owen||Sydney||Holden||2 Laps|
|17||R.Kelly, D.Wood||Kelly||Ford||17 Laps|
|18||N.Percat, T.Randle||Brad Jones||Holden||28 Laps|
|19||T.Everingham, J.Ojeda||GRM||Holden||40 Laps|
|–||J.Kostecki, Z.Goddard||Matt Stone||Holden||Retirement|
|–||J.Smith, J.Perkins||Brad Jones||Holden||Retirement|
|–||G.Jacobson, D.Russell||Matt Stone||Holden||Retirement|
|–||T.Hazelwood, J.Boys||Brad Jones||Holden||Retirement|
|–||J.Whincup, C.Lowndes||Triple Eight||Holden||Retirement|
Final Supercars drivers’ standings
|3||Shane van Gisbergen||2095|
|8||Anton De Pasquale||1637|
|15||Jack Le Brocq||1396|