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Kostecki, van Gisbergen discuss epic battle

31 Mar 2023
Camaros go to war in race-defining scrap
3 mins by James Pavey
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Capitalising on a battle between Will Brown and Shane van Gisbergen laid the foundation for Brodie Kostecki’s maiden Supercars victory.

Kostecki won the shortened Race 4 at the Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint on Friday.

It marked Erebus Motorsport’s first victory since Sydney 2021, and the first for #99 Coca-Cola Camaro driver Kostecki in his 75th career start.

Van Gisbergen came home third in his #97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro, with Ford veteran James Courtney splitting the two Chevrolets.

Brown took the lead from pole-sitter van Gisbergen into Turn 1, with the latter unable to retake the position.

A Safety Car for the stranded Penrite Ford of David Reynolds gave Super Soft-shod van Gisbergen another chance to pass Brown.

Van Gisbergen ran around the outside of the #9 Coca-Cola car at Turn 3, and the reigning champion was held out wide.

It gave Kostecki a golden chance to move into second, with van Gisbergen also hanging on around Turn 5.

Kostecki pounced on Brown through Turn 6 — by then, van Gisbergen had been shuffled down to sixth behind Courtney, Chaz Mostert and Broc Feeney.

“Will was fighting for his life on the restarts there,” Kostecki said after the race.

“I capitalised on them racing, and got by them both. Obviously the rest is history.

“I knew the car had the pace, I knew not to make mistakes, it was drizzling a bit out there.

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“I tried to leave a bit on the table, just try and keep the lead, then was told it was time certain.

“Then the Safety Car came out at the end there, and I knew once we dropped, it was all over.”

That Safety Car — caused by a Turn 7 crash for Jack Le Brocq — ensured Kostecki, who took his stop ahead of van Gisbergen, would win the race.

Courtney was second, with Brown — who stopped on lap 4 — crossing the line seventh.

Van Gisbergen said he learned his lesson from the first lap, but his lap 4 restart attack left him in a "damned if I did, damned if I didn’t” situation.

However, the two-time Bathurst winner had no ill feelings towards Brown, saying he would’ve pulled an identical move had the roles been reversed.

“I learned from the first one with Brodie into Turn 3, I went around the outside,” van Gisbergen said.

"On the restart, I was damned if I did, damned if I didn't.

“I didn't know where to go. If I went to the inside, Will would block me and Brodie would go around.

“I went for it and he [Brown] ran me off the road, but I would’ve done the same to him.

“It is what it is.”

Cars will return on Saturday for back-to-back ARMOR ALL Qualifying sessions at 9:05am local time.

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