Shane van Gisbergen was pleased Garth Tander’s injured Commodore was allowed to race to the end despite loose bodywork on the front of the Holden Racing Team car.
The front guard popped out of the car after the team’s final pit stop and while it was looked at, officials decided it wasn’t unsafe for the eventual winner to continue.
Van Gisbergen agreed with the call and said the win wouldn’t have meant as much for him and Alex Premat if their competitors were forced into the pits and out of the lead.
“It lasted 20 laps so it was the right call,” van Gisbergen said.
“Even if they did black flag it, it would be a hollow victory.
“They were the fastest car today those guys, they deserved the win, that made it a little bit more exciting, otherwise they had a big lead over us.”
Tander said the damage did make the car difficult to drive and a gap around 10 seconds disintegrated to 0.34sec finish at the end of the race.
“The last 10 laps I think were a real struggle when the guard came away it just completely ruined the car balance it was very difficult to drive from that point on … if there was a couple more laps it would be an interesting race.”
Van Gisbergen loves a close battle and wasn’t disappointed to finish second in the circumstances.
The positive is that it leaves his leading the championship after teammate Jamie Whincup’s shocker – the Kiwi has a seven point buffer over the six-time champ now.
He doesn’t like speaking about the championship until after the enduro phase, though.
“I say one thing about the championship, it’s all after the Gold Coast it’s three big weekends up here,” van Gisbergen said.
“The first one’s ticked off so I’m not thinking about points until after the Gold Coast one’s done, two big weeks coming up there’s two good drivers up her going well so get the focus down and we’ll think about that after.”
There was a fightback element for the #97 van Gisbergen shared with Alex Premat, after starting seventh and double stacking behind Whincup early on in the race.
The race was time certain after a red flag suspended running three laps in, so it was a matter of racing the clock.
“I was just watching the lap number match the gap number sort of thing – just pushing as hard as I could … it was a crazy race.”
Van Gisbergen was pleased with his co-driver’s performance – the Frenchman tackled wet conditions in the first half of the race.
“Alex had really good speed so we moved forward, we just got caught out by that double stack.
“Pretty hard day to come back from but the car was really good, cool to make some passes and come through and to run it down at the end was exciting.”