V8SC finale: Whincup wins race, Van Gisbergen takes championship
Shane van Gisbergen is the 2016 V8 Supercars champion! A third place finish in the first race of Coates Hire Sydney 500 at Sydney Olympic Park was enough to secure the championship title for 27-year-old Kiwi. He becomes the first New Zealander since Jim Richards in 1991 to win the title.
Shane’s Red Bull Australia’s teammate Jamie Whincup is the winner of Saturdays’ race, ahead of Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team). SVG’s third place means the gap to Jamie Whincup is now 170 points, ahead of one more race tomorrow with 150 points to offer. The new champion grabbed the last podium spot in a thrilling finish of the 250-km race against 2010 champ James Courtney (Holden Racing Team).
Bad start for SVG, epic comeback
The race started catastrophically for Van Gisbergen, who dropped through the field from pole position, while teammate and championship challenger Whincup took the lead. Van Gisbergen then trid to make a pass over Mark Winterbottom at turn 9, but he just earned a drive-through penalty because of punting Winterbottom’s car. A Safety car was out after Dale Wood‘s crash, soVan Gisbergen was again in the game with ninth-place restart. He passed his competitors one by one, progressing all over to the third place.
Scott McLaughlin also passed Courtney in the last lap, finishing fourth and taking the third place in the championship ahead of Craig Lowndes. The battle for third will continue tomorrow, same as the battle for the second place in Teams’ standings. Holden Racing Team is looking for a strong championship result after Garth Tander finished second and James Courtney was fifthin race 1.