Shane van Gisbergen leads Holden 1-2-3 at Gold Coast V8 finale
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Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander have won the final race of the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 weekend, leading home teammates Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes for Red Bull's second 1-2 finish of the day (their first of the 2019 season).
The race finished in surprisingly tense fashion, with David Reynolds closing down the leaders and traffic playing a factor. But, van Gisbergen and Whincup were able to hold on.
It's van Gisbergen's 35th career race win, and helps him close the gap on Scott McLaughlin in the championship to 463 points https://www.driven.co.nz/news/motorsport/watch-scott-mclaughlin-survives-dramatic-crash-on-the-gold-coast/ earlier in the day during qualifying.
The race opened with chaos; a multi-car first-lap crash caused by contact between Todd Hazelwood and innocent party Will Brown [video above]. Among those suckered into the incident was Andre Heimgartner's co-driver Bryce Fullwood, with the early setback setting the tone for the rest of the Nissan duo's race.
Away from the chaos, Tander and Lowndes took up the top two spots ahead of Luke Youlden, Alex Davison, and Thomas Randle. After the panel-bashing start, the race simmered. The two Red Bull Holdens slowly shifted away from Youlden, helping build a foundation for the balance of the race.
Once again, yellow flags were an endangered species — an oddity given the history at Surfers Paradise and given all the incidents that unfolded during qualifying and practice. What it left was a relatively straightforward race, with a seemingly unnecessary complicated strategy scenario for the leading Red Bull Holdens.
The only car to threaten the two briefly was the Monster Ford Mustang of Cameron Waters and Michael Caruso. The latter spent an extended period behind the wheel early to allow for an early decision to go off sequence. The result was a brief period at the head of the field before getting picked off one by one by van Gisbergen and Whincup.
As the race finish approached, the curiosity came with Red Bull's strategy. Van Gisbergen and Tander had had the edge all race long, but the final pit cycle actually saw Whincup handed fresher tyres with the aid of a later pit-stop. When he came out from that stop he rejoined almost line astern with the Kiwi, before tucking in behind before turn four.
It was curious because a day earlier van Gisbergen was also set up with a strategy that encouraged a quick run to the flag, only for the team to tell him not to fight with eventual winner Whincup. Here, with the roles reversed, it appeared that Whincup would also not threaten van Gisbergen.
What set up the final 10 laps to be a dash more tense than most expected it to be were two things; a fast approaching Reynolds and the presence of traffic. Reynolds was able to close the gap to Whincup to under a second (with Whincup essentially nose-to-tail with van Gisbergen). But, despite the late pressure van Gisbergen was able to persevere at the front to claim his fourth race win of the season.
Third place for Reynolds and Youlden was a significant rebound after a disastrous day yesterday. Scott Pye and Warren Luff claimed fourth, after an exciting duel between Pye and Waters on the back stretch of the circuit fell in favour of the Walkinshaw Andretti United driver.
Waters/Caruso rounded out the top five, ahead of Lee Holdsworth/Randle, the Davison brothers, Anton de Pasquale/Will Brown (having recovered from the lap-one crash), James Courtney/Jack Perkins (recovering themselves from an extra pit-stop, caused by a driver's door that wouldn't close), and Nick Percat/Tim Blanchard in 10th.
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