Best, Waters battles forced van Gisbergen's hand

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 31/07/2022
  • By James Pavey

Shane van Gisbergen says his winning strategy in Race 21 was influenced by battling early on with Tickford drivers.

Van Gisbergen cruised to victory in the OTR SuperSprint opener on Saturday.

The points leader’s run to win No.12 of the season was highlighted by overtakes on Cam Waters and Zak Best.

Van Gisbergen lost second to Waters on the first lap, but he later regained position with a bold move at Turn 1.

He later overtook wildcard pole-sitter and leader Best, and ran until lap 20.

A blockbuster stint helped van Gisbergen re-emerge in the lead, and he converted to his first Bend victory since 2020.

However, he knew he required more than car speed to get the job done.

"Our car was magic today, and I have to thank the team for their efforts,” he said.

"I’ve been struggling with my driving but the car’s been really good.

"I had a great battle with Cam at the start of the race which was awesome, and Zak drove great as well.

"Those battles cost us a bit of time which meant we had to run a bit longer in the race to get clear air.

“Overall, we had a really awesome day and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.”

Will Davison loomed to have cleared van Gisbergen with a powerful undercut.

Davison started sixth, but stormed his way forward and appeared set for an unlikely win.

Enter van Gisbergen, who set fastest laps en route to a margin which proved big enough to retain the lead.

The Kiwi enters Sunday with an extended 323-point lead over Anton De Pasquale, who finished ninth.

"After a long stint, the tyres were still fine,” he said.

“But Will had passed us with his strategy, so we had to make that time up somewhere to get back in front of him.

"I would have loved to battle him on the track, but our great strategy and pit stop meant we didn’t have to.

"I’m really stoked."

Cars will return to the track on Sunday for dual ARMOR ALL Qualifying sessions at 9:35am local time.

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