Van Gisbergen wins Clipsal double
Published: 05 March 2017 Image credit: Mark Horsburgh/Edge Photographics
Shane van Gisbergen's 2017 Supercars season has gotten off to the perfect start, as the Red Bull Holden driver snatched victory from Shell V-Power Racing's Scott McLaughlin.van Gisbergen took advantage of a lock-up from McLaughlin with three laps remaining to move into the lead and secure his second race victory, capping off a perfect weekend which also included two pole positions.
Despite starting the race on pole position, it was short-lived for "The Giz", as a brilliant start from Shell V-Power Racing's Fabian Coulthard saw him jump into the lead on the opening turn, while McLaughlin also aggressively pushed past van Gisbergen on Lap 1.
However, McLaughlin was unable to find a way past his Kiwi team-mate in the lead - and was one of the first drivers to enter the pits, as his team looked for a strategic edge on the rest of the field.
This decision looked to pay dividends for McLaughlin - as he wound up in clear air at the back of the field, while his rivals at the front of the field were duking it out for position.
The battle for first place between Coulthard and van Gisbergen was particularly intense, as the two Kiwi's were neck-and-neck until van Gisbergen finally made his move count on Lap 14.
When the two race leaders stopped into the pits a few laps later - it was Coulthard who emerged ahead, but both drivers exited behind McLaughlin, who capitalised on the early stop and took the race lead.
In the middle section of the race - McLaughlin benefited from the clear air in front of him to extend his lead to as much as ten seconds ahead of the second and final pit stop of the race.
After his final stop, McLaughlin's lead started to dwindle - as van Gisbergen turned up the pressure on his Kiwi rival and all of a sudden, the gap between the two was almost cut in half and down to only six seconds.
As the laps ticked on, the lead continued to shrink - and with five laps remaining, there was only a second separating the two drivers.
A costly rear lock-up from McLaughlin on Turn 8 allowed van Gisbergen to find a passage into the lead and race away to the chequered flag, capping off an incredible weekend for Red Bull Holden.
Chaz Mostert rounded out the podium, as the Supercheap Auto Racing Team driver took advantage of some clever pit strategy to move up the field.
Mobil 1 Holden's James Courtney finished in fourth place, despite being under investigation from race control for an incident with Simona De Silvestro that spun her car around.
Despite the hot start, Coulthard eventually fell back to fifth, while Jamie Whincup followed behind him in sixth.
Tim Slade finished seventh, while Cameron Waters, Todd Kelly and Craig Lowndes completed the top ten.