Watch: Shane van Gisbergen beats F1 star, claims controversial Supercars wins
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Shane van Gisbergen has bounced back in the BP Supercars All Stars Eseries by claiming two race wins overnight at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. The Red Bull pilot and his Kiwi counterpart Scott McLaughlin were both in the thick of the evening's chaos; the defending champ and current series leader the significantly less lucky driver of the pair with only one podium in the finale.
Van Gisbergen's opening race win is set to be investigated after he was involved in a last-lap clash with Anton De Pasquale while battling for the win. Meanwhile, McLaren F1 driver and event guest Lando Norris claimed a podium finsh. The Brit was predictably quick, and was able to finish third in the crash-impacted opening race. The reverse-grid race two, meanwhile, was won by Eseries debutant Broc Feeney.
Norris was one of five guest drivers at the Spa event, with Super2 drivers Jaden Ojedga and Feeney, former Supercars champion James Courtney, and Red Bull Junior driver Jack Doohan joining him. Norris was one of a bunch of drivers to cop a penalty during the Top 10 Shootout for exceeding track limits; leaving van Gisbergen to take pole ahead of De Pasquale, McLaughlin, and Bryce Fullwood. Ojeda was the best of the guests in sixth, with Norris starting from seventh.
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By the end of the first lap of the eight-lap opener, the former Toyota Racing Series champ was up to fourth behind McLaughlin, De Pasquale, and race leader van Gisbergen. It was a surprise clean start among the race leaders, with a big crash on the edge of the top 10 prompted by a spinning Garry Jacobson gutting the midfield.
Pit-stops began to unfold on lap three, with van Gisbergen, McLaughlin, and Norris stopping on lap five. De Pasquale was in a lap later. The Erebus driver had initially stolen the lead, only for van Gisbergen to draft by after Eau Rouge. McLaughlin kept third, but was a few seconds behind. Cameron Waters had discreetly snuck by Norris for fourth behind. The final two laps saw a great dice for first, and a separate three-car battle for third.
The fight for first was tightest. De Pasquale had a look inside van Gisbergen at the penultimate run through the chicane, then sat under the Red Bull Commodore's rear wing for most of the final lap. It looked like De Pasquale was trying to set up the same move again on the final lap, but instead he flicked to the outside ... triggering a hugely chaotic last two corners. De Pasquale had a healthy amount of overlap, and tried to wedge himself up the inside of the second half of the chicane.
The two clattered into each other mid-corner, and then tangled on corner exit as De Pasquale tried to assume the corner exit line only to be spun into the tyre wall on the outside. This saw McLaughlin, Waters, and Norris suddenly thrust into the potential victory picture. McLaughlin and Waters coverged on van Gisbergen into the La Source, with Waters diving deep on the inside in his attempt to get by. The trio ran three wide coming out of the final corner, with van Gisbergen taking a narrow provisional victory.
McLaughlin wound up incurring a late penalty for exceeding his track limits allowance, which dropped him from the podium down to 15th at the flag. This left Waters and Norris to round out the podium, over Chaz Mostert, Bryce Fullwood, Andre Heimgartner, Nick Percat, Lee Holdsworth, Fabian Coulthard, and Jake Kostecki.
Courtney and Feeney had the front row for the eight-lap reverse-grid race two, with Mark Winterbottom and David Reynolds on row two. Courtney led briefly until he was tipped around into a spin at Les Combes. Winterbottom inherited the lead, only for Feeney to grab it back by the end of the lap. It had been an untidy venture for some of the contenders, with McLaughlin spearing off and Norris momentarily blocking pit entry after wrecking on the front straight with Chris Pither.
By the time the pit cycle had been completed, Feeney led Will Davison, Jacobson, and Mostert in a four-car fight for first place. Davison's early pit-stop strategy had initially gifted him the lead, but he spent the closing phase of the race fading off the back of Feeney and holding up Jacobson. Feeney was able to hold on for the win in his Boost Mobile Ford Mustang, with Davison unable to steal the lead with a late surge. Mostert nearly grabbed third from Jacobson at the bus stop, but was unable to get the pass done. Van Gisbergen and De Pasquale carved through for fifth and sixth, with Jake Kostecki, Waters, Scott Pye, and Heimgartner rounding out the top 10.
For race three, the longest of the evening with 14 laps and two pit stops, van Gisbergen started from pole. Mostert was alongside, with Waters, De Pasquale, Jacobson, and McLaughlin filling the following two rows. Norris started the finale from ninth. Although, the McLaren Formula 1 driver wouldn't be ninth for long. He was involved in the main lap-one chaos at Les Combes, which also involved Heimgartner and Davison.
At the front van Gisbergen held the lead from Mostert, De Pasquale, Waters, and McLaughlin. Mostert hung with van Gisbergen until lap four, when he faced an exciting attack from De Pasquale. The iRacing specialist ran around the outside of Mostert at Les Combes, and then through Malmedy. It was only at the Buxelles right-hand sweeper where Mostert was able to leave him behind.
Van Gisbergen and De Pasquale were able to hold the top two spots through the first pit cycle, with McLaughlin, Mostert, Waters, and Feeney in behind. And that order remained almost unchanged after the second wave of stops, apart from Mostert getting by McLaughlin. Again like race one, the race boiled down to a big battle for first (van Gisbergen versus De Pasquale) and a battle for third (Mostert versus McLaughlin). De Pasquale made one final lunge at the chicane, making minor rear bumper contact with van Gisbergen before locking his rear wheels and spinning.
He was able to claim second still, with McLaughlin scooping a surprise third place after Mostert ran wide into the last corner. With Waters also getting by, Mostert had to settle for fifth. Feeney, Jacobson, Holdsworth, and Jack Le Brocq rounded out the top nine, with Norris finishing 10th after an excellent battle with Percat.
The series now returns to America for next Wednesday's double header at Circuit of the Americas and Sebring. It's been confirmed that Norris will return for the event.