Watch: Shane van Gisbergen wins again as Holdens dominate Supercars chaos
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Holden drivers have swept all four races of the fourth round of the BP Supercars All Stars Eseries at Montreal and Watkins Glen; victories shared between Shane van Gisbergen, Chaz Mostert, Anton de Pasquale, and gaming novice Jamie Whincup.
The night was punctuated by a nail-biting final lap at the opening race of the night, heated discussions over incidents, and impessive showings from some of the category's stalwarts and rookies. Along with Whincup's race four win, Marcos Ambrose also ran well on his return; sitting mid-pack for most of the night before earning a solid sixth place in the final race. Fellow wildcard Alexander Rossi meanwhile, after struggling early on, grabbed an excellent second in the finale.
For the first of the races at Montreal, a 10-lapper, it was De Pasquale starting from pole over Van Gisbergen, Chaz Mostert, and Andre Heimgartner. Super2 driver Angelo Mouzouris was the best of the guest drivers in 16th, with Rossi in 20th place, Joey Logano 27th, and Ambrose forced to start from the rear with simulator issues prior to qualifying.
Van Gisbergen got the jump to lead De Pasquale, McLaughlin, and Will Davison on lap one as numerous crashes unfolded behind. The lead pack quickly divided into three battles; the trio fighting for first, Davison fending off Cameron Waters and Heimgartner for fourth, and Mostert holding off the angry train for the bottom of the top 10. Van Gisbergen was the first of the leaders to stop, doing so at the end of lap four. In clean air, he was able to retain first over his key rivals, with McLaughlin sneaking by De Pasquale in the melee.
As the laps wound down, McLaughlin and De Pasquale whittled down the gap to van Gisbergen to set up a tight fight for the win. McLaughlin decided to make his move at turn one on the final lap; a mild nudge into van Gisbergen's rear seeing van Gisbergen skip wide and McLaughlin take the lead.
McLaughlin readdressed the move halfway through the lap, handing back the lead to van Gisbergen. De Pasquale, close to the action, was able to pounce on McLaughlin to steal away second. The trio crossed the line separated by half a second. Davison, Waters, Heimgartner, Bryce Fullwood, Nick Percat, and Garry Jacobson rounded out the top 10. Rossi was the first of the internationals in 16th, with Ambrose jumping from last to 22nd.
Logano finished 28th, which meant he would start from the front row for the reverse grid race alongside Jack Smith, with the relatively quick combination of Scott Pye and former winner Fabian Coulthard on row two and Mostert and Chris Pither on row three. The start, not for the first time, was unbridled chaos. It looked like Pye was going to scoot away and avoid the chaos to lead, but instead his car tripped on the turn two ripple strip and rolled.
When the dust settled, the race had gone under yellow with Coulthard and Mostert in front. Everyone elected to pit under yellow apart from Coulthard and Mark Winterbottom, which appeared to be an error on both their parts. Mostert sat third as the first driver to stop, Zane Goddard, Logano, Waters, Hazelwood, and Reynolds in tow. The trio that claimed podiums in the opener were all out of contention by the halfway point.
With Coulthard finally pitting on lap eight, Mostert was unleashed in first place ahead of Goddard, Waters, and an excellent battle for fourth between Fullwood and Jake Kostecki. After a lot of bad luck in earlier rounds, Mostert was able to grab a breakthrough convincing win by over three seconds. The remainder of the top five didn't change, meaning two Walkinshaw Andretti United and two Matt Stone Racing cars in the top five. Todd Hazelwood, Macauley Jones, Mouzouris, Jamie Whincup, and Jacobson completed the top 10, with Ambrose the leading international in 17th.
Qualifying for Watkins Glen, race three of the night and 14 laps long, set the stage for a very tight field. Just one second separating pole to 24th position. Van Gisbergen started from pole over De Pasquale, McLaughlin, an impressive Lee Holdsworth, and Cameron Waters. Van Gisbergen bogged down off the line, leaving De Pasquale to take first with McLaughlin and Holdsworth in behind. Van Gisbergen fell to sixth place.
Drivers started pitting as early as the end of lap one, with the leaders filtering in one by one. De Pasquale was able to crucially hold his spot over McLaughlin, while van Gisbergen edged up to third thanks to a string of productive laps after his stop. This was how it stayed at the front, with Holdsworth holding off behind van Gisbergen and ahead of for a strong fourth.
Behind them, the biggest battle was the train fighting for fifth; Fullwood leading Percat, Mostert, Kostecki, Jacobson, Pye, and Heimgartner in close proximity. Mostert made a clean move at turn one on Percat, with a wild defence on the run to turn two following. Pye meanwhile was gobbled by Heimgartner, after trying to go around the outside of Jacobson following the bus stop. Despite the jostling, the racing was surprisingly clean. Fullwood ended up holding on for fifth, with Mostert, Kostecki, Percat, Heimgartner, and Waters completing the top 10. Ambrose was again the leading international, finishing 14th.
The front row for the reverse-grid final was Smith and Goddard, with Davison and Mouzouris lined up on row two. With Goddard and Davison going off at turn one, Pither inherited the lead only to crash at the bus stop. This thrust first place into the unlikely lap of Whincup. The early order again started to become muddled at the end of lap one, with the first of the pit-stops taking place. Whincup and Mouzouris' battle was a tight one; 18-year-old Formula Ford champ trying to scare the seven-time champion.
Whincup stopped on lap eight, cycling back out in front of the first stoppers Rossi and Ambrose. And as more chaos reigned in the mid-pack, Whincup's early pace was confirmed by his reassumption of the lead on lap 10. By that point Rossi and Ambrose were second and third, but struggling on old tyres as Waters, McLaughlin, and Mouzouris closed in. Ambrose finally lost out on lap 11 to Waters and McLaughlin at turn one, with McLaughlin sneaking by Waters simultaneously. The trio had a brief fascinating drafting battle on the back straight, with McLaughlin somehow saving a locked up and sideways car in the braking zone to keep the place.
At the front, Whincup was able to hold on to a somewhat remarkable victory, given his complete lack of experience and string of crashes at the stard of the season. Rossi claimed second over a rapidly closing McLaughlin and van Gisbergen. Waters, an impressive Ambrose, Jones, Winterbottom, Percat, and Fullwood rounded out the fourth and final top 10.
The next round will take place at Spa-Francorchamps and the Nurburgring, with wildcard entrants and race formats to be confirmed.