Supercars: Season-opening victory for Shane van Gisbergen
The 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship kicked-off traditionally with the Clipsal 500 at Adelaide Street Circuit. The winner of the first race is the same as the year before – Shane van Gisbergen in the #97 Holden Commodore of Red Bull Holden Racing Team, scoring his 25th Supercars win in a career.
Same as in 2017, he also started from pole position. The only difference is that he won in a Holden ZB Commodore instead of VF Commodore, giving a maiden victory to a new car.
In a fact, it was the 1-2 win for Holden because James Courtney came second in the #25 Walkinshaw Andretti United’s car. DJR Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin came third in the #17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Falcon to complete the podium.
All three podium scorers were in the lead during the 78-lap race. After starting from pole, Van Gisbergen lost a lead to McLaughlin and Courtney. McLaughlin first pitted on lap 9, handing a lead to Courtney. Van Gisbergen made the first stop on lap 24. On laps 40, 42 and 43 respectively, leader Courtney, McLaughlin and van Gisbergen pitted for their second stops. Needing a shorter fill based on his longer first stop, van Gisbergen took the lead and stayed in front until the end.
David Reynolds (Erebus Motorsport, Holden) finished fourth, ahead of Mark Winterbottom (Tickford Racing, Ford). Defending champion Jamie Whincup opened a new season with the sixth place. Chaz Mostert, Will Davison, Craig Lowndes and Scott Pye completed the top 10. The best of Nissan drivers was Michael Caruso in 15th place.
The race was interrupted by three Safety Car periods between laps 52 and 62. Richie Stanaway was on a way to be the best rookie in the 18th place but he retired on the last lap. That meant Anton De Pasquale was the first rookie across the line on 19th place.
One more race is scheduled for Sunday.