Kiwi van Gisbergen cleans up V8SC Gold Coast opener
van Gisbergen and Webb dominate on the streets of Surfers Paradise
New Zealand's Shane van Gisbergen, along with co-driver Jonathan Webb, has claimed victory in race one of the Gold Coast 600 — his first win of the 2016 V8 Supercar season.
"It wasn't just me, we came in with a 10-second lead. The car was amazing — to be able to do those times lap after lap so easily, the car was just fantastic. Thanks to the Darrell Lea guys and the whole team; that was amazing," said van Gisbergen after the race.
"Like Shane said, the boys have done an awesome job. I was really happy to give a really good lead to Shane, and from there he just carried it on," added Webb.
The combinations of David Reynolds/Dean Canto (Ford) and Craig Lowndes/Steve Richards (Holden) rounded out the podium.
van Gisbergen had grabbed pole position for the opening race earlier in the day, edging fellow Kiwi Scott McLaughlin in the top ten shootout.
Webb, along with the rest of the co-drivers, started the race. And after making a perfect start off the line, he gave the car to van Gisbergen with a 10-second margin over McLaughlin's Volvo co-driver Alex Premat.
Photo / V8 Supercars
It had appeared that Premat, and teammate McLaughlin, would be a chance for the win. But after numerous collisions with the notorious tyre bundles at the chicane at the end of the back straight, the margin from Webb and Premat blew out.
The Polestar Volvo squad then had to replace the damaged front splitter during the first pit stop, dropping them out of the top ten. A recurring issue at the front end of the Volvo ended any chance of a comeback on lap 63.
It would also not be a race to remember for either Jamie Whincup or Mark Winterbottom.
Whincup's Red Bull Racing Australia Commodore was involved in an early incident while co-driver Paul Dumbrell was at the wheel, battling with Bottle-O Racing's Dean Canto. Having lost ground after tangling with Nissan's Taz Douglas, Dumbrell was vulnerable to an attack from Canto at turn 11. The pair made initial contact, then more contact as the front of the Commodore was swiped by the passing Falcon.
Winterbottom's race meanwhile turned sour as soon as the series leader got into the car on lap 34, thanks to a collision in pit lane with Holden Racing Team (HRT) driver Garth Tander. The hit caused steering damage to the leading Pepsi Max Falcon, resulting in a lengthy stint in pit lane to mend the issue.
Both cars would eventually return to the fray, but many laps down. They finished last and second-to-last respectively. Winterbottom's poor result sees Lowndes trim almost 100 points out of his championship lead.
Photo / V8 Supercars
One of the main talking points of the race was the form of James Courtney, with the 2010 series champion returning to racing duties for the first time since he was injured by a freak accident in pit lane at Sydney Motorsport Park. He would end the race in a solid fifth place with co-driver Jack Perkins.
"It's good to be back," said Courtney after the race.
"It's good to be racing everyone and not be wobbling around at the back. [The body] feels alright, the adrenelin is still pumping pretty hard at the moment. Once all that wears off I suppose we'll see where we're really at, but I feel fine, couldn't feel anything in the car, and obviously it didn't effect our performance."
Courtney finished one spot shy of his teammate Garth Tander. The pair had spent the majority of the race embroiled in their own private battle, with contact made several times. Both were ushered to the back of the HRT pit bay after the race by Walkinshaw Racing Managing Director Adrian Burgess.
Nick Percat/Oliver Gavin, Fabian Coulthard/Luke Youlden, Scott Pye/Marcos Ambrose, Rick Kelly/David Russell, and James Moffat/Taz Douglas completed the top ten order.
Qualifying for race two takes place at 2.55pm NZST, with the race itself scheduled for 5.30pm NZST.