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Waters wins, Kostecki secures title after van Gisbergen crash

Supercars
25 Nov
Brodie Kostecki has clinched the 2023 crown after a dramatic VAILO Adelaide 500 opener won by Cam Waters
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  • Cam Waters wins third race of 2023 as Brodie Kostecki clinches title

  • Waters beats David Reynolds by 0.6708s in dramatic Adelaide race

  • Kostecki clinched title after Shane van Gisbergen crashed out on lap 1

Cam Waters has won the VAILO Adelaide 500 opener, as Brodie Kostecki wrapped up the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship with sixth after Shane van Gisbergen crashed.

The #43 Monster Energy Mustang, complete with a Ken Block tribute livery, crossed the line first in Race 27 after Waters twice passed David Reynolds.

Waters first passed Penrite Racing veteran Reynolds after the second stops, before emerging ahead after a hairy rejoin.

The end margin was just 0.6708s, with Waters' Tickford Racing teammate Thomas Randle (#55 Castrol Mustang) and Walkinshaw Andretti United driver Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Optus Mustang) completed an all-Ford top four.

It was all smiles for Kostecki and Erebus Motorsport, with the pole-sitting #99 Coca-Cola Camaro finishing sixth after dropping behind Reynolds and Randle before the first round of stops.

The Erebus Motorsport driver ran quietly for the rest of the race and was passed by Mostert and Broc Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol Camaro), but did enough to put the title beyond doubt with a race to spare.

Van Gisbergen, Brown crash out on lap 1

With van Gisbergen out of the race on the opening lap after a clash with Will Brown, Kostecki only had to finish to clinch the crown, and has an unassailable 233-point lead heading to Sunday.

Feeney, meanwhile, took third in the standings with fifth, with Mostert now just 25 points behind Brown for fourth overall. The teams' championship is still up for grabs, however, with Triple Eight reducing Erebus' lead to 161 points heading to Sunday with 288 on offer.

"I'm lost for words, to be honest," said Waters, who won the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 opener last month.

"It was awesome to win on the Gold Coast, but to win here in Adelaide, it's probably one of my favourite races of the year, the fans are amazing.

"My team have been absolutely phenomenal... to win with the Ken Block livery and blow the rear tyres off it was very, very special. I'm pretty pumped."

Waters takes the race lead from Reynolds

The drama began before lights out, with Cameron Hill failing to leave the grid after his #35 Truck Assist Camaro, which underwent an engine change, was pushed back into pit lane.

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Kostecki led Reynolds into the Senna Chicane for the first time, but the drama incurred behind between Anton De Pasquale (#11 Shell V-Power Mustang), Brown and van Gisbergen saw the bp Ultimate Safety Car deployed.

On the lap 6 restart, Kostecki led from Reynolds, Randle, De Pasquale, Waters, Mostert, James Golding (#31 Nulon Camaro) and Feeney.

Reynolds had pace to burn and attacked Kostecki, and put a move on the Coca-Cola Chevrolet for the lead on lap 15 at Turn 9. Five laps later, Randle cleared Kostecki for second.

Kostecki pitted from third place on lap 22, with Randle stopping on lap 25. Reynolds pitted on lap 29 and rejoined ahead of Randle.

Waters retakes lead from Reynolds in hairy rejoin

Waters pitted from the race lead on lap 30 and rejoined Reynolds and Randle, with Kostecki fourth. Will Davison (#17 Shell V-Power Mustang) was fifth from Feeney, James Courtney (#5 Snowy River Caravans Mustang), De Pasquale, Andre Heimgartner (#8 R&J Batteries Camaro) and Mostert.

De Pasquale, who was caught up in the title-defining lap 1 incident, began to drop down the order due to steering damage. He would be classified 21st.

Randle let Waters through at Turn 9 on lap 37, with the Monster Ford clearing Reynolds on lap 41 at Turn 7. All the while, Reynolds reported a steering issue to his team.

Randle stopped on lap 48 and Kostecki on lap 49, with Waters driving away from Reynolds before Tickford brought the #43 in on lap 52.

Final lap: Waters holds off Reynolds to win Adelaide opener

Reynolds stopped on lap 54 and rejoined side-by-side with Waters, with the Monster Ford getting the effective lead back as the Penrite Mustang soared through the Senna Chicane.

Mostert was on a charge after his lap 55 stop, and passed Feeney and Kostecki en route to fourth. Reynolds chased Waters and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 59, but Waters eventually reopened the margin and kept the 2017 Bathurst winner at bay.

Waters would make it two wins in three, and three for the season to date.

However, the biggest cheers were for Kostecki and Erebus, with driver and team combining to win their first drivers’ titles. Kostecki also became the first driver since Bob Jane in 1972 to win a title in a Chevrolet.

Supercars will return to the track for ARMOR ALL Qualifying at 10:15am local time/10:45am AEDT. The Top Ten Shootout will follow at 12:05pm local time/12:35pm AEDT, followed by Race 28 at 2:45pm local time/3:15pm AEDT.

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