Pit lane to P1: SVG clinches stunning NZGP win

24 Jan 2021
It marks the Supercars star's first win in the marquee race
3 mins by James Pavey

Shane van Gisbergen has claimed a remarkable New Zealand Grand Prix victory after starting from pit lane.

It marks the Supercars star’s first win in the marquee race, with van Gisbergen winning both curtain raiser races.

The Kiwi was favourite for the 66th running of the grand prix, which was held at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.

He backed up his Race 1 win on Saturday with victory in the morning Race 2, leading from pole position.

As it was on Saturday, Race 2 saw the battle for the win fought between van Gisbergen and countryman Chris van der Drift.

The Red Bull Ampol Racing ace, who won the most previous Supercars race at last October’s Bathurst 1000, had his charge halted by a mid-race Safety Car.

When the race resumed following the full-course yellow for Tom Alexander’s beached car, van Gisbergen had to defend from van der Drift for nine laps.

Van der Drift drew alongside the #97 into Turn 2, allowing Brendon Leitch into the fight.

However, he later made contact with Supercars driver Andre Heimgartner at the Turn 2 hairpin.

Heimgartner, who will return to Kelly Grove Racing in 2021, was forced to stop on the circuit.

The Safety Car was deployed again, with van Gisbergen allowed a free kick to victory ahead of van der Drift, Matthew Payne and Kaleb Ngatoa.

The morning's wet qualifying session saw van Gisbergen line up 10th for the feature race, but he suffered drama even before the lights went out.


The fire extinguisher set off in van Gisbergen’s FT-60, commencing frantic efforts to clean his car and refill his fire extinguisher.

However, he couldn’t take to the grid after his crew missed the cut-off time to exit pit lane.

In a brilliant comeback effort, the 31-year-old charged through the field from 16th, and took the lead with 10 laps remaining.

Heimgartner finished second in his repaired car to see Supercars drivers run first and second, with rookie Payne third.

Toyota Racing Series debutant Kaleb Ngatoa lined up alongside former Supercars driver Dan Gaunt after the surprise qualifying result.

Ngatoa took the lead into Turn 1, but Gaunt quickly swept in front, leading Ngatoa, van der Drift, Heimgartner, and four-time Bathurst 1000 winner Greg Murphy after the first lap.

Van der Drift's charge was halted when he damaged his front wing following contact with Gaunt.

A Safety Car for the stranded car of Peter Vodanovich helped van Gisbergen into contention, with the 40-time Supercars race winner into fourth by lap 14.

A move on Ngatoa helped van Gisbergen into the podium places on lap 15, before he reeled off Heimgartner and Gaunt before opening up a two-second lead.

The end margin between van Gisbergen and Heimgartner was 2.27s, with Payne a further 1.35s adrift.

Ngatoa, van der Drift, Damon Leitch and Brendon Leitch all picked off Gaunt, who struggled to eighth ahead of Billy Frazer and Murphy.

Van Gisbergen and Heimgartner will return to competitive Supercars action at next month’s Repco Mt Panorama 500. Tickets are on sale now.

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