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Le Brocq takes fairytale Darwin win, Kostecki 26th

Supercars
18 Jun
Second breakthrough win for a team in as many days
4 mins by James Pavey
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Highlights: Race 15 2023 betr Darwin Triple Crown

Jack Le Brocq has helped Matt Stone Racing to its first Supercars victory, dominating the betr Darwin Triple Crown finale to become the seventh different winner in 2023.

Truck Assist Camaro driver Le Brocq took a team to its first Supercars win for the second time in as many days, following Mark Winterbottom’s Saturday win for Team 18.

Le Brocq controlled Race 15 from pole position, with the 30-year-old winning his first race since Sydney 2020.

It was the first win for MSR in 172 attempts, which began life in the main game as a wildcard with Todd Hazelwood in 2017 — the same year they won the Super2 title.

Not only was it the first win for MSR, but it was the team’s maiden Supercars podium. The Yatala squad also became the ninth different team to score a podium in 2023.

Andre Heimgartner (#8 R&J Batteries Camaro) made it two podiums in as many starts on Sunday, with Race 14 winner Broc Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol Camaro) completing the podium.

It was a torrid afternoon for Erebus Motorsport; series leader Brodie Kostecki was classified 26th after picking up lap 1 damage, while Will Brown was penalised over contact with Winterbottom.

Brown crossed the line fourth, but was classified sixth behind Shane van Gisbergen (#97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro) and Cam Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang) after a five-second penalty was applied.

Heading to the NTI Townsville 500, Kostecki leads by a reduced 59-point margin over Brown, with Feeney now just 91 points down in third.

Van Gisbergen was fourth, and is just 110 points from the series lead heading to the 150-point races in Townsville — a venue where he has won 10 times.

Triple Eight slashed Erebus' teams' championship points lead from 276 to 142 over the course of the weekend,

"I'm lost for words," said Le Brocq, whose #34 Truck Assist Camaro was heavily damaged after a hit from Jack Smith in Sunday's first race.

"It's pretty unreal, the guys have done an awesome job, especially the last few hours, it was pretty beaten up in that second race today.

"I feel like it's been a long time coming. We've had good speed this year, and it's great to convert to solid race pace as well."

Heimgartner challenged Le Brocq around Turn 1, and again at Turn 6, after both front row starters got off the line strongly.

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Kostecki suffers damage in lap 1 hairpin logjam

It was at Turn 6 where Kostecki struck trouble, with the #99 Coca-Cola Camaro picking up broken steering after hitting Anton De Pasquale’s #11 Shell V-Power Mustang.

De Pasquale overshot at the left-hander, with Kostecki clouting the Shell Ford and suffering damage, which kept him in the garage for three laps.

All the while, Le Brocq opened up a 1.1s gap on Heimgartner, with Feeney launching an attack on third-placed Winterbottom.

Kostecki, fighting a damaged car, stopped for tyres on lap 11. On the following lap, Zane Goddard (#888 Supercheap Auto Camaro) bowled a wide at Turn 11 defending from Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Optus Mustang), and dropped to 20th.

The top seven on the grid — Le Brocq, Heimgartner, Winterbottom, Feeney, Brown, Will Davison (#17 Shell V-Power Mustang) and Waters — held status quo before Feeney and Brown stopped on lap 16.

Le Brocq, Heimgartner and Winterbottom stopped on the following lap in response. Le Brocq and Heimgartner held position, with Feeney undercutting Winterbottom.

Behind them, Winterbottom moved to defend Brown at Turn 1, only for the latter to unsettle the #18 DEWALT Camaro and pick up a five-second penalty for a driving infringement.

Brown penalised over Winterbottom contact

Van Gisbergen pitted from the race lead on lap 19, having passed Waters and Davison on track, and emerged down the order.

However, the reigning champion muscled his way towards the front, with Le Brocq opening up a margin on Heimgartner.

Down the order, Matt Payne (#19 Penrite Mustang) was penalised to the tune of five seconds after colliding with Smith (#4 SCT Logistics Camaro) at Turn 6 on lap 23.

It did little to deter Le Brocq, who raced away to victory by 1.3499s over Heimgartner, who in turn was a whopping 7.1433s ahead of Feeney.

Van Gisbergen was 10.3148s away from victory after starting ninth, with Waters fifth ahead of Brown, Winterbottom, Davison, Chaz Mostert and Todd Hazelwood (#3 CoolDrive Mustang).

Mostert was the biggest mover, vaulting from 25th on the grid to ninth after 35 gruelling laps, and is 179 points from the series lead.

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the NTI Townsville 500 on July 7-9. Tickets are on sale now.

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