Motorsport: Shane van Gisbergen and Formula 1 rival grab Supercars wins
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Shane van Gisbergen has again starred in the latest round of the BP Supercars All Stars Eseries, winning the opening race of the evening's racing at Circuit of the Americas, and finishing second overall for the night. The Kiwi shared race wins with Formula 1 driver Lando Norris and Erebus Motorsport's Anton De Pasquale, with the latter claiming the overall win for the evening and $1000 for his chosen charity Feel the Magic.
The final race ended with the most dramatic moment, with van Gisbergen and De Pasquale colliding. The latter spun, but then got the lead back when van Gisbergen slowed to readdress the move.
Van Gisbergen would start from pole for the opening 11-lap race after grabbing pole narrowly from Anton De Pasquale. Behind them Scott McLaughlin and Will Power took the second row. Van Gisbergen retained the lead, with the field flowing through turn one surprisingly cleanly apart from some rubbing between Power and Chaz Mostert.
The field settled with van Gisbergen, De Pasquale, and McLaughlin alone at the front, with Power, Holdsworth, Mostert, Cameron Waters, and Lando Norris (the Formula 1 star recovering from a penalty for track cutting in the top 10 shootout) leading the chasing pack. Norris' progress was halted when he inherited a drive-through penalty for pushing Waters into a spin at turn eight.
Van Gisbergen still led after stops, and he was able to keep the lead to win the race comfortably over De Pasquale, McLaughlin, Power, and Lee Holdsworth. Mostert was able to finish sixth, with Garry Jacobson, Andre Heimgartner, Will Davison, and Jack Le Brocq rounded out the top 10.
Norris wound up finishing 28th after his penalty, which meant he would start the 11-lap reverse-grid race from towards the front. The McLaren Formula 1 driver started race two from third behind Super2 guest racer Josh Fife and seven-time Bathurst 1000 champion Craig Lowndes. With Norris' main competition down the back of the grid, he was in the box seat to walk away with the race.
Again, the start was punctuated by plenty of crashes. As opposed to the relatively clean opener, there were incidents from turn one to the finale corner. By the end of the lap, Todd Hazelwood emerged as the surprise leader, over Norris, Waters, Jake Kostecki, and Bryce Fullwood. After an excellent side-by-side exchange, Norris stole first from Hazelwood at the end of lap three.
Norris' grasp on first survived the pit cycle. Waters had leaped Hazelwood in the melee, but was still a hefty distance behind Norris. And that's how the duo remained; Norris beating the Monster Energy Mustang driver by over three seconds to claim his first win in the Supercars Eseries. Hazelwood claimed a quiet podium, over Kostecki, De Pasquale, Fullwood, van Gisbergen, Davison, Mostert, and Scott Pye in 10th.
For the elongated 20-lap finale, De Pasquale and van Gisbergen started from the front row based off their amalgamated points across race one and two. Mostert and Waters were alongside in the row behind. Like race one, the start was surprisingly clean apart from another collision in the middle of the top 10 between Norris and McLaughlin.
De Pasquale was able to scoot away over van Gisbergen as opening pit-stops loomed. The slightly wounded McLaughlin and Norris were among the first to stop. De Pasquale initially retained his lead after stop number one, but came under instant pressure from van Gisbergen and his warm tyres. The pair raced in close proximity for the first sector, with De Pasquale eventually regaining composure. Even with the Penrite driver's tyres up to temperature, the Kiwi stayed glued to his tail (both of them gapping Waters in third).
The second stop cycle was a repeat of the first, except De Pasquale's slight one-lap undercut gave him a bit more breathing space over the 2016 champ. Behind them McLaughlin had caught Waters in the battle for third, but a collision at turn one impeded the defending champ's progress. Waters was subsequently ordered to readdress to McLaughlin on the final lap.
Van Gisbergen, much like at Spa, made a late surge at De Pasquale for first. After having over a second of margin, De Pasquale was under fire and inevitably the two made contact. Van Gisbergen tapped De Pasquale into a spin at turn eight. The Red Bull driver temporarily took the lead, only to slow to a halt to readdress the pass and hand first, and thus the win, back to De Pasquale.
Thankfully for both drivers they had enough of a gap over McLaughlin to press on in first and second. McLaughlin salvaged third, with combatant Waters tucked in behind. Power, Davison, Jacobson, Le Brocq, Norris, and Mostert rounded out the top 10.
The series now moves to America for next week's round, with races at the famed Charlotte Roval and Daytona Speedway.