Hard fight of two Kiwis at Pukekohe for decisive Supercars points
A hard fight of two drivers from New Zealand, the championship leaders Scott McLaughlin (DJR Team Penske) and Shane van Gisbergen (Red Bull Holden) marked the New Zealand’s round of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at Pukekohe Park Raceway.
In the end, Van Gisbergen celebrated a victory in the first race of the Auckland SuperSprint, his seventh this season in the #97 Holden Commodore, just half of a second ahead of McLaughlin’s #17 Ford Falcon after he received 5sec time penalty because of a contact during the race. SVG was also under an investigation for a wheelspin breach during a pit stop. He was cleared but DJR Team Penske protested and results will be provisional until Sunday morning.
A new victory closes Van Gisbergen to just two points behind McLaughlin in the championship fight with three more races on a schedule.
Chaz Mostert (Tickford Racing) rounded out the podium in the #55 Ford, ahead of David Reynolds in the #9 Erebus Holden and Jamie Whincup in the #1 Red Bull Holden.
Scott McLaughlin started from pole and held the lead over Shane van Gisbergen through the first seven laps. On Lap 8, Fabian Coulthard hit the wall heavily after a contact with Richie Stanaway and the Safety Car was called out. When racing resumed on lap 15, the leader was James Courtney, who didn’t pit. On lap 22, Van Gisbergen passed McLaughlin, and then Courtney twelve laps later.
Van Gisbergen pitted on Lap 45, returning to race behind McLaughlin. Stewards later announced they were investigating spinning wheels during SVG’s pitstop. On Lap 60, the controversial contact happened which gave Van Gisbergen a penalty. However, he passed his rival and built an advantage of 5.5119 seconds until the end of the 70-lap race to annul 5sec penalty.