V8 Supercars - Pukekohe: Australia 1 - New Zealand 1
Red Bull Australia’s Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen are the winners of two Saturday’s sprint races at Pukekohe Park Raceway. Whincup has won the first 100-km race of the ITM Auckland SuperSprint, which was red flagged after three laps because of Jason Bright’s accident and resumed after the car was moved from the pit lane entry.
Shane van Gisbergen finished second in the first race. In the second race, Red Bull’s teammates swapped positions and the Kiwi driver crossed the finish line as the winner after 35 laps. After 25 championship races, Van Gisbergen is the leader with 148-points advantage over Whincup. Two more races at Pukekohe are scheduled for tomorrow.
The #97 and #88 Holdens started both races from the front row, with SVG as the pole-sitter and Whincup next to him. The six-time V8SC champion had a better start and he took the lead. Behind two Red Bull cars, Scott McLaughlin and Mark Winterbottom were wrestling for third place.
The red flag came out onLap 3 after Jason Bright crashed into the wall at pit lane entry. Before he lost control of his Commodore, he had a contact with Chris Pither. Pither served a drive-through penalty for his part in the crash. The race restarted shortly after the Commodore was rescued, with Whincup flying up front until the chequered flag with a 6.5-second lead. Scott McLaughlin brought his Volvo to the third place.
In the Race 2, Shane van Gisbergen remained and crossed the finish line 2.18sec ahead of Whincup, to equal his teammate in the points for the prestigious Jason Richards Memorial Trophy, the award for the top point-scorer at Pukekohe’s racing weekend. For Van Gisbergen, it was his seventh win of the season and he puts his Championship lead back to 148 points.
Chaz Mostert completed the podiums, starting from the third position. Fabian Coulthard and Mark Winterbottom rounded out the top five. Jason Bright did not start the race bit he is confident to be back on the track on Sunday.
Two 10-minute qualifying sessions and two 100km races are scheduled for tomorrow.