The return to The Bend Motorsport Park provided three different winners; any weekend that happens, there are bound to be tales of delight, and stories of woe.
Shane van Gisbergen extended his series lead at the OTR SuperSprint on a weekend Mustangs swept all before them.
Supercars.com has picked out five winners and four losers from the OTR SuperSprint.
Heimgartner’s 161-race wait for victory ended, and in a big way, the Kelly Grove Racing driver crushing his rivals on Saturday to claim pole and the win in tricky conditions.
A wanted man as contract talks start to heat up, Heimgartner proved he has what it takes to win when his ducks are in a row.
Shell V-Power Racing Team
The champion Ford team continues to improve, with Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison again claiming two podiums each.
De Pasquale led an historic one-two in the first Sunday race, helping Ford to its 400th race win. An engine misfire ruined his Race 11 effort, having claimed both poles; however, Davison’s run to third ensured the team retained second in the teams’ standings.
It took 11 races, but Waters finally struck the big time in 2021 with a strong win in the weekend finale.
Any day you can keep Shane van Gisbergen behind, it’s a good day; Waters did just that, with Tickford Racing managing to get on top of its tyre woes from Tasmania to return to the winners’ circle.
Had he not been wiped out in Race 10, his weekend could have been even better; it cost him crucial ground in the title chase, but clinching victory was half the battle.
Shane van Gisbergen
While he went winless on a weekend for the first time this season, van Gisbergen left Tailem Bend with a greater series lead than the one he arrived with.
Van Gisbergen was arguably the driver of Sunday’s races, finishing on the podium twice. He loomed to threaten Shell V-Power Racing Team’s one-two, before pushing Waters all the way in the finale.
He would rue being unable to clear Waters after making his stop, but heading to Winton, another Triple Eight bogey circuit, he’ll be delighted with his extended 190-point buffer.
Brad Jones Racing mightn’t have its qualifying pace sorted, but they have a ripper in Percat, who nearly pulled off the result of the season on Saturday.
Percat went from 26th and last after a nightmare qualifying to being in the thick of the podium battle.
On Sunday, he was caught up in the opening lap drama, before recovering to 16th. His P6 finish in Race 11 was masked by a fuel flow issue, which cost him a higher finish.
Still, he retained his top 10 position in the standings, and will be one to watch at his team’s test venue at Winton.
Finishes of sixth, 11th and fourth weren’t to Whincup’s standards, with the seven-time champion dropping ground to van Gisbergen.
It marked a disappointing weekend for the Red Bull Ampol Racing veteran, who was quick in practice, and started second for Race 11.
Two top fives sandwiched a DNF in Race 10, which came as a result of his involvement in the Race 10 tangle.
He was Heimgartner’s closest challenger on Saturday, and would have been in the fight in Race 10.
He recovered to fifth in the finale, but he too lost key ground to van Gisbergen in the title chase.
A DNF, 22nd and 12th ensured Reynolds dropped from seventh to 13th in the standings.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, amplified by teammate Heimgartner’s remarkable Race 9 win.
It wasn’t much better for Winterbottom, who on a milestone weekend, walked away with just the sole top 10 result.
A power steering issue ruined his Saturday, having topped first practice.
He recovered to ninth in Race 10, but was turned around in the finale, crossing the line 18th.
He did, however, retain his top six position in the standings, but is 151 points away from fifth-placed Waters.
The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to Victoria for the Winton SuperSprint across May 28-30. Tickets are available here.
The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo with highlights on 7 and 7 Plus.