Darwin Supercars: Mostert wins dramatic opener

Chaz Mostert emerged on top of a dramatic opening Supercars sprint race at Hidden Valley in Darwin.

The race got off to a dramatic start, with polesitter Anton De Pasquale the centrepiece of a first-corner pile-up.

The Dick Johnson Racing driver's woes started when he was outfoxed by Shane van Gisbergen into Turn 1, his Triple Eight rival drifting right before pulling a surprise move down the inside. 

De Pasquale was then tapped into a spin by Scott Pye, who bounced over the inside kerb, before being hit again by a slow-starting Mark Winterbottom.

There was another few hits coming too, Todd Hazelwood, Jack Smith, Fabian Coulthard and Garry Jacobson all crunching into De Pasquale's stricken Mustang.

Pye was slapped with a drive-through penalty for triggering the crash.

The clean-up soaked up the first six laps of the race, the race going green again to start Lap 7. At that point van Gisbergen was leading, with Nick Percat and Mostert sitting second and third.

They ran in that order until Lap 10 when Mostert slid up the inside of Percat into Turn 1. The Walkinshaw Andretti United driver then settled into second, a little over two seconds behind the leader.

At that point it looked like van Gisbergen's race to lose, until he came in for his Lap 22 stop. A stubborn right-rear wheel nut meant the service took a whole 30 seconds, van Gisbergen re-joining the race way down in 20th.

That left Mostert with a commanding lead, his final margin 12.3s as he took a second win for Walkinshaw Andretti United.

"Starting eighth I was just thinking I hope I get through Turn 1," said Mostert. "Then I lucked in to coming out of Turn 1 in third. 

"I was pretty quick at the start and I was a bit worried about that, normally when you have a quick car at the start you get worried that the degradation is going to come. I'm super pumped, it's good to have a fast race car."

Cam Waters worked his way up to second by the finish after barging his way past Percat during the second stint.

Percat, meanwhile, finished third on the road but will now face a post-race investigation regarding a breach of the minimum tyre pressure regulations.

His car was clocked with pressures under the minimum 17psi as he rolled down pitlane following his stop, that matter now in the hands of the stewards. 

Fourth came down to a battle between the two Boost-backed drivers Brodie Kostecki and James Courtney. 

That battle came to a head three laps from the end when Courtney dived up the inside of Kostecki at Turn 5. The pair made contact, Kostecki short-cutting the track to Turn 7 to retain his position before being hit with a five-second penalty for an improper re-join.

That dropped him from fourth on the road to ninth in the results.

Kostecki's teammate Will Brown, racing in the stifling heat without a working cool suit, finished fifth behind Courtney.

Brothers Jake and Kurt Kostecki finished an impressive sixth and seventh ahead of Tim Slade.

Van Gisbergen fought his way back to 13th, one spot behind teammate Jamie Whincup on what was a tough day for Triple Eight.

That means his series lead was only cut by two points back to 188, although Mostert is now only 190 points behind the Kiwi. 

Race results:

Cla # Driver Car Time
1 25 Australia Chaz Mostert
Holden Commodore ZB
2 6 Australia Cameron Waters
Ford Mustang GT 12.390
3 8 Australia Nick Percat
Holden Commodore ZB 15.361
4 44 Australia James Courtney
Ford Mustang GT 21.421
5 9 Australia Will Brown
Holden Commodore ZB 23.315
6 34 Australia Jake Kostecki
Holden Commodore ZB 24.763
7 27 Australia Kurt Kostecki
Holden Commodore ZB 25.244
8 3 Australia Tim Slade
Ford Mustang GT 25.660
9 99 Brodie Kostecki
Holden Commodore ZB 25.730
10 55 Australia Thomas Randle
Ford Mustang GT 25.984
11 2 Australia Bryce Fullwood
Holden Commodore ZB 26.497
12 88 Australia Jamie Whincup
Holden Commodore ZB 26.704
13 97 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen
Holden Commodore ZB 28.509
14 17 Australia Will Davison
Ford Mustang GT 29.240
15 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner
Ford Mustang GT 30.089
16 35 Australia Zane Goddard
Holden Commodore ZB 35.349
17 96 Australia Macauley Jones
Holden Commodore ZB 36.924
18 22 Australia Garry Jacobson
Holden Commodore ZB 37.117
19 26 Australia David Reynolds
Ford Mustang GT 37.467
20 5 Australia Jack Le Brocq
Ford Mustang GT 39.622
21 20 Australia Scott Pye
Holden Commodore ZB 2 laps
22 18 Australia Mark Winterbottom
Holden Commodore ZB 9 laps
11 Australia Anton De Pasquale
Ford Mustang GT
19 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard
Holden Commodore ZB
14 Australia Todd Hazelwood
Holden Commodore ZB
4 Australia Jack Smith
Holden Commodore ZB
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