17th to victory: SVG completes extraordinary comeback

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 20/03/2021
  • By James Pavey

Shane van Gisbergen has defied a lowly grid position and broken collarbone to record a stunning victory in Race 3 at the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint.

Many doubted van Gisbergen would get through first practice, let alone the entire weekend.

However, a late gamble and a brilliant charge through the field saw van Gisbergen steal the win from under the nose of Cameron Waters on the final lap, with Jamie Whincup fighting to third.

Van Gisbergen started the race from 17th after a disappointing qualifying performance, with Chaz Mostert clinching a first pole since Tailem Bend last year.

Mostert lost the lead on the run to Turn 1, with Waters, Mark Winterbottom and Jamie Whincup scything through.

It only took two laps for the race to turn on its head, with Bryce Fullwood sent into the Turn 4 barriers by Garry Jacobson.

WATCH: FOUR-WIDE TO START RACE 3

The resultant BP Ultimate Safety Car kept the cars in tandem until the lap 7 restart, with Mostert haunting Whincup for third at Turn 9.

All the while, van Gisbergen quietly made his way forward, with the Red Bull Ampol Racing driver up to 11th by lap 8.

Walkinshaw Andretti United was first to blink and stopped Mostert on lap 8, with Shell V-Power Racing bringing Anton De Pasquale one lap later.

Mostert leads the gaggle late on

By lap 16, van Gisbergen was up to sixth, having cleared Jack Le Brocq at Turn 1, and was six seconds off the lead.

On lap 19, he cleared Will Davison for fifth, with only the leading quartet ahead.

At the end of lap 19, Waters was followed into the lane by Winterbottom and Whincup.

WATCH: RACE 3 HIGHLIGHTS

The Red Bull Ampol crew managed to leapfrog Whincup in front of Winterbottom, with Mostert undercutting the trio and regain the lead.

De Pasquale, who stopped after Mostert, split Whincup and Winterbottom and ran an effective fourth.

Van Gisbergen was into the lead once Andre Heimgartner stopped on lap 20. Five laps later, the 2016 champion got the call from the lane, and was brought in.

WATCH: PENULTIMATE LAP THRILLER

As the tyre margin began to narrow, Waters began to reel in Mostert.

Waters gained an overlap heading onto the front straight at the end of lap 33 and stole the lead at Turn 1.

The ensuing bottleneck allowed van Gisbergen, who had vaulted to fourth, to brilliantly grab both Mostert and Whincup.

At the end of the penultimate lap, van Gisbergen had Waters where he wanted him, and made the winning move at the first corner.

Van Gisbergen greets the chequered flag

From there, the #97 was never headed, with van Gisbergen recording his 43rd career victory.

Through three races in 2021, van Gisbergen is undefeated following his Repco Mt Panorama 500 clean sweep.

“I had so much help the last couple of weeks,” an exhausted van Gisbergen told the broadcast, having broken a 56-year-old Sandown record.

“Good surgeons, hyperbaric chambers, nice girlfriend looking after me, our physio.

An exhausted van Gisbergen readies for the interviews

“It’s been pretty tough two weeks, but I feel awesome in the car, and obviously my car’s great.

“Hopefully that was a good show to watch, I was trying.

“I didn’t know how good I was going to be over a distance, and my pain’s no worse than it is.”

Van Gisbergen will take an extended 60-point championship lead over Mostert into Sunday, which will feature two 36-lap sprints.

The Repco Supercars Championship field will tackle Race 4 ARMOR All Qualifying at the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint at 10:30am AEDT on Sunday. Tickets are on sale now.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo. Check out the full weekend schedule here.

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