Van Gisbergen wins Albert Park opener

30 Mar
Reigning champion takes out first Melbourne sprint
3 mins by James Pavey

An early overtake on pole-sitter Anton De Pasquale has helped Shane van Gisbergen win the Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint opener.

Van Gisbergen started third behind De Pasquale and Brodie Kostecki, and made the pass for the lead on lap 3.

From there, van Gisbergen controlled the race through the stops to take his second victory of the 2023 season.

The #97 Red Bull Ampol Racing driver has now crossed the line first in all three races this year, but was disqualified from Race 1 in Newcastle.

Coca-Cola Chevrolet driver Kostecki led home teammate Will Brown, with Broc Feeney making it a Chevrolet top-four sweep.

Feeney also took home the five bonus points for setting the fastest lap of the race.

Kostecki had passed Shell V-Power Racing Team Ford driver De Pasquale prior to the stops, with the latter delayed by a slow pit stop.

Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Optus Mustang) retained the series lead, albeit by a reduced margin of 31 points over Kostecki after finishing fifth.

Van Gisbergen praised his team over the result, having crashed the car in Practice 1.

"Thanks to my team, Red Bull Ampol Racing... after what I did to the car this morning, tried to write the thing off," said van Gisbergen, who is 106 points from the series lead.

“To fix it it up like they did, then two good qualis and a race win, I’m stoked."

Before De Pasquale led the field into Turn 1, the track was declared wet, which nullified the requirement to use both tyre compounds.

A racy Kostecki tried to pressure De Pasquale into a mistake, but only encouraged van Gisbergen to take second position through Turn 5.


Van Gisbergen quickly caught De Pasquale and easily made the pass for the lead stick at Turn 3 on lap 3.

De Pasquale kept a watching brief, but fell into the clutches of Kostecki, who staved off a challenge from Cam Waters (#6 Monster Mustang).

Waters dropped two positions to Mostert and Brown after being hung out to dry by Kostecki at the flip-flop.

On lap 15, De Pasquale again proved no barrier for a driver behind as Kostecki eased past at Turn 11.

De Pasquale and Brown were first of the lead group to stop at the end of lap 17.

A slow stop by the Shell V-Power crew delayed De Pasquale, and ruined his podium hopes.

The likes of van Gisbergen, Kostecki, Mostert, Waters all stopped at the end of the penultimate lap.

Van Gisbergen also suffered a slow stop, and lost his entire margin to Kostecki, who was forced to defend from Brown on rejoin.

However, with one lap remaining, Kostecki was unable to make an impression on the reigning champion, who won by 0.3910s.

De Pasquale came home sixth ahead of Waters, with Jack Le Brocq (#34 Truck Assist Camaro), James Courtney (#5 Snowy Rivers Caravans Mustang) and Macauley Jones (#96 Pizza Hut Camaro) rounded out the top 10.

Bryce Fullwood (#14 Middy's Camaro) was the big mover, vaulting from 24th to 11th in the 19-lapper.

Tim Slade came home 20th after starting from pit lane, having missed qualifying due to repairs to his #23 Nulon Camaro.

Cars will return to the track for the 15-lap Race 3 at 2:55pm local time on Friday.

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