Van Gisbergen beats Heimgartner in Sydney finale

30 Jul
Title picture changes again at Sydney Motorsport Park

Shane van Gisbergen has scored his first Supercars win since April with a controlled drive at the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight.

The #97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro driver lost his pole advantage to Brad Jones Racing’s Andre Heimgartner off the line, but regained the lead back on lap 4.

From there, the New Zealander raced away to his first victory since Race 7 in Perth, the 79th of his career, and his ninth at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Heimgartner (#8 R&J Batteries Camaro) was second ahead of Anton De Pasquale (#11 Shell V-Power Mustang), who overhauled Broc Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol Camaro) on the final lap to score a second podium in three starts.

The championship picture changed once again in Red Bull Ampol Racing’s favour after Brodie Kostecki (#99 Coca-Cola Camaro) faded to eighth, and Will Brown (#9 Coca-Cola Camaro) was 14th after fast off at Turn 1.

Heading to the OTR SuperSprint, Kostecki, Brown, van Gisbergen and Feeney are spilt by just 67 points. Triple Eight, meanwhile, slashed Erebus' teams' championship lead to 80 points. 

"I have to thank my team," said van Gisbergen, who was reverted to Triple Eight's wildcard chassis in Sydney.

"They haven't given up on me, I've been struggling, but they've rebuilt this car, changed chassis, they've done so much work. It's so cool to be back here.

"Kiwi one-two which is awesome. We're back on the right track."

Heimgartner, starting on the clean side of the track, pounced on van Gisbergen and led through Turn 1. Behind them, cameras quickly panned to the spinning Brown.

Replays showed Brown being caught in a four-car sandwich into the fast left-hander, with David Reynolds (#26 Penrite Mustang), De Pasquale and Mark Winterbottom (#18 DEWALT Camaro) implicated in a side-to-side melee. Brown, meanwhile, dropped to 25th and last.


At the end of the opening lap, Heimgartner led van Gisbergen, Feeney, Kostecki, Bryce Fullwood (#14 Middy's Electrical Camaro), Cam Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang), Winterbottom, De Pasquale, and Truck Assist Racing Chevrolet teammates Cameron Hill and Jack Le Brocq.

Van Gisbergen haunted his countryman and scythed past Heimgartner on lap 4 at Turn 3, and quickly opened a margin on the BJR Chevrolet.

Feeney and De Pasquale stopped on lap 15, with the former stopping shortly after Kostecki cut past at Turn 7. Kostecki was brought in on lap 18, and rejoined behind Feeney, De Pasquale and Fullwood.

Brad Jones Racing pulled Heimgartner in on the next lap, and the #8 R&J Batteries Chevrolet emerged behind behind Feeney, De Pasquale, Fullwood and Kostecki.

Van Gisbergen soldiered on for one more lap, and pitted — along with Waters — in response to the Heimgartner stop. Van Gisbergen emerged to form an effective Red Bull Ampol one-two, with Heimgartner picking off De Pasquale for third at Turn 2 on lap 22.

All the while, Waters stalled after his stop, lost ground and emerged behind Winterbottom and Le Brocq in effective ninth.

Van Gisbergen regained the lead once the pit cycle ended, and enjoyed a 2.8s lead over Feeney, with Heimgartner rapidly closing on the #88 Chevrolet.

Heimgartner regained second with a strong pass on Feeney at Turn 6, but the BJR driver had to find 3.1s on van Gisbergen in the final 13 laps.

Heimgartner, however, was unable to make a dent into van Gisbergen’s margin, with the latter winning by 5.2s. De Pasquale was 10.4s behind Heimgartner, having passed Feeney at Turn 7 on the final lap.

Fullwood came home fifth ahead of Waters and Mostert, with Kostecki a whopping 23.1s from victory in eighth.

Jack Smith (#4 SCT Logisitics Camaro) set the fastest lap of the race, and claimed bonus points after teammate Macauley Jones copped a time penalty.

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the OTR SuperSprint on August 18-20.

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