Supercars heavyweights Triple Eight have made the most of a pit-stop disaster for pole sitter Will Brown to claim a one-two finish in race 23 at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Celebrating their 250th round start, Triple Eight’s Red Bull Racing star Shane van Gisbergen claimed his 13th win for 2021 – and 53rd of his career.
He finished 17 seconds ahead of Jamie Whincup, extending his championship lead over his teammate to 356 points.
But there was only heartbreak for rookie Brown.
Still buzzing from his maiden career pole, Brown led for the first six laps before a botched pit stop sabotaged his race.
A wheel nut issue extended his stop to 28 seconds, relegating him to the middle of the field when he finally emerged from pit lane.
It marked the second time in as many weeks a poor pit stop had derailed the 23-year-old’s winning chances.
He crossed the line on Saturday night in 12th but finished 11th after Shell V-Power Racing’s Anton De Pasquale copped a time penalty.
On a bad night for Erebus Motorsport, Brown’s teammate Brodie Kostecki’s podium chances were dashed by a drive through penalty for pitlane speeding and finished 23rd.
With Brown out of the running, van Gisbergen reeled in Whincup midway through the race to become the sixth driver to win 13 or more races in a year.
It marked Triple Eight’s 217th win in their historic 250th round.
“Can’t thank the team enough, they’ve done a great job of turning around, it’s awesome,” van Gisbergen said.
“We had a little cake yesterday and all pretty excited. The history of this team as we know is second-to-none, so I’m just stoked to be a part of it.”
Whincup said it was ‘”bittersweet” to be overtaken by van Gisbergen but was happy for the team on their milestone round.
“It’s bittersweet. Obviously fantastic team result which is by far the most important thing but yeah, so close to a win, just didn’t quite get there,” he said.
Shell V-Power Racing made the most of a difficult qualifying session to secure third place through Will Davison, after two-time winner from last weekend De Pasquale started at the back of the grid.
Ford’s Davison fended off a spirited challenge from Holden’s Nick Percat late to get on the podium and cement his position on the championship ladder behind the two Red Bulls.
Meanwhile, Holden’s Scott Pye recorded the fastest lap.
Races 24 and 25 will be held from 4.35pm and 7.30pm AEDT respectively on Sunday.
Supercars race 23 race results:
1. Shane van Gisbergen (Triple Eight’s Red Bull Ampol Racing)
2. Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Ampol Racing)
3. Will Davison (Shell V-Power Racing)
4. Nick Percat (Brad Jones Racing)
5. Todd Hazelwood (Brad Jones Racing)
Supercars championship standings:
1. Shane van Gisbergen (Red Bull Ampol Racing) 2298 points
2. Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Ampol Racing) 1952pts
3. Will Davison (Shell V-Power Racing) 1821pts
4. Chaz Mostert (Mobil 1 Appliances Online Racing) 1744pts
5. Cameron Waters (Monster Energy Racing) 1730pts