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Tander: The race Kostecki can lean on in title fight

Supercars
01 Nov
'If I'm Brodie Kostecki, I've got that in my memory bank, I'm remembering those types of races'
3 mins by James Pavey, Photos by Insyde Media
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  • Tander says Kostecki must remember Perth battle with van Gisbergen

  • Van Gisbergen and Kostecki got into it in Perth to set tone for 2023 season

  • Kostecki leads van Gisbergen by 131 points with Adelaide finale to come

Garth Tander says Brodie Kostecki must keep his epic Perth battle with Shane van Gisbergen in the back of his should the title rivals meet on track in Adelaide.

Kostecki and van Gisbergen will fight for the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship at the VAILO Adelaide 500 on November 23-26.

The Erebus Motorsport driver holds a 131-points lead over the Red Bull Ampol Racing star, and could clinch the title if he outscores van Gisbergen on the Saturday.

Coincidentally, both drivers fought for victory and came up short on the Gold Coast, van Gisbergen missing out to Cam Waters before David Reynolds pipped Kostecki.

Full battle: Kostecki, van Gisbergen dispute Perth win

On a weekend with plenty at stake, Kostecki and van Gisbergen never went toe-to-toe — but Tander says Kostecki, if he’s to fight on track with van Gisbergen in Adelaide, has a reference point.

Van Gisbergen overhauled Kostecki in the Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint opener in April after the latter put up a spirited fight for the win.

While three-time champion van Gisbergen got the chocolates, Kostecki proved he was no pushover — and Tander believes the Erebus driver should use it to his advantages if the two meet again in Adelaide.

“I’d rather take a 131-point lead than a 131-point deficit going into the last one,” 2007 series champion Tander said on Supercars Trackside.

“They didn’t actually find each other on the race track over the course of the 500 kays of racing this weekend.

kostecki gisbergen perth battle 2023

“Ironically, both ended up battling for the race win in the dying moments of each race. They never went side-by-side over the course of the weekend at all.

“How good would it be to go to Adelaide, Sunday race, those two battling it out heads-up racing for the win, for the championship.

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“They went at it really hard in Perth at the start of the year, and if I’m Brodie Kostecki, I’ve got that in my memory bank, I’m remembering those types of races.

“I’m thinking, ‘This is what it takes to win a championship, I’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done’.”

Kostecki’s margin was clipped from 131 to 104 points in the Saturday race, with the 25-year-old undone by a kerb strike in the Top Ten Shootout.

The tables turned 24 hours later, with van Gisbergen stung by a Shootout kerb strike as Kostecki restored his margin to 131 points. It wasn’t without risk, however, with Kostecki fighting tooth-and-nail with Reynolds.

That performance impressed five-time champion Mark Skaife, who said Kostecki’s smarts far outweigh his experience and age.

Last lap: Reynolds denies charging Kostecki to win Race 26

“The way that Brodie’s driving, honestly, I’m surprised by his level of maturity,” Skaife said.

“He looks like he’s been in this circumstance now for years, it doesn’t look like it’s perturbing him in any way.

“He’s driving with real vigour, real aggression, real confidence — all the things you need to have to win a championship, he’s doing it.

"I think Brodie will come away from the weekend pretty proud of the way that he approached it.

“He came from a poor qualifying performance yesterday, got through all that drama. Then today, even though he was ultra-aggressive, more aggressive than I expected him to be with David Reynolds.

“The result is a real foundation leading into the last one. I think if any time you can go into a street circuit knowing van Gisbergen is a street circuit specialist, and come away with the same point gap you had leading in, that’s a pretty cool story for him.”

The VAILO Adelaide 500 will conclude the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship on November 23-26.

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