Pukekohe Supercars: Van Gisbergen wins as Coulthard rolls

Shane van Gisbergen took an impressive win on home soil at Pukekohe, while fellow Kiwi Fabian Coulthard's title hopes took a beating after a spectacular rollover.

Pukekohe Supercars: Van Gisbergen wins as Coulthard rolls

Van Gisbergen held of Mark Winterbottom to keep his slim title hopes alive, while Scott McLaughlin prevailed in a race-long battle with Jamie Whincup to narrow the points gap at the top of the table to just 18 points.

At the same time Fabian Coulthard's title tilt took a big blow after a wild rollover midway through the race.

Having spent the race battling mid-pack, the DJR Team Penske driver was on a charge through the Top 10 when he tangled with David Reynolds – recovering from a clash with Chaz Mostert at the hairpin – on Lap 58 and ended up on his roof after rolling in the sand.

The DNF means he's now 137 points off Whincup, while van Gisbergen is 159 points off the lead.

Story of the race

Despite an abandoned qualifying session early in the day due to rain – and genuine question marks over whether the race would even be able to start should the rain have persisted – the race got underway in mostly dry conditions and with the full field on slick tyres.

It was the Red Bulls that made the best of the start, Whincup mobbing polesitter Waters on the run to Turn 1 while Shane van Gisbergen came from sixth on the grid to charge into third.

The top three quickly bolted, with Mark Winterbottom and Scott McLaughlin giving chase as a clear top five was established.

On Lap 9 the first of the leaders hit the lane, van Gisbergen making his first compulsory stop. That moved both Winterbottom and McLaughlin up a spot to third and fourth respectively, before the pair pitted a lap later, McLaughlin jumping the Prodrive Ford in the process.

The pair both emerged ahead of van Gisbergen, but the Red Bull Holden driver quickly cleared Winterbottom to move back into effective third spot.

Whincup and Waters then followed suit on Lap 12 and 14 respectively, Whincup retaining the lead while Waters dropped to the back of the lead pack behind Winterbottom.

The battle for the lead turned over to Whincup and McLaughlin, and on Lap 18 they almost came to blows. A huge lunge from McLaughlin at the hairpin led to a wild side-by-side exchange through the quick section onto the main straight, McLaughlin lucky to survive a huge moment after being forced into the grass by the leader.

The move led to Whincup being shown the bad sportsmanship flag for not leaving racing room.

A thrilling battle between the pair continued until Lap 32, when James Courtney went into the wall at Turn 3 and the Safety Car was called.

Whincup and McLaughlin dived straight into the pits, the #88 narrowly retaining track position on the way out.

But van Gisbergen was the big winner, after staying out to complete another lap to avoid having to stack behind Whincup. When Whincup and McLaughlin were momentarily baulked behind the Safety Car before being waved past on their out-lap, van Gisbergen was able to jump into the lead.

Winterbottom, who pitted with van Gisbergen, made a similar gain and slipped into second.

The race went green again on Lap 37, and two laps later McLaughlin finally cleared Whincup, barging past at the hairpin to take third spot.

On Lap 52 Whincup went very close to throwing his title tilt away, running wide at Turn 1 on a slightly damp track. He managed to gather it up by a matter of centimetres, and even managed to recover the small amount of time lost when the Safety Car came out thanks to Dale Wood running off the road at Turn 3 moments later.

It took just six laps for the next Safety Car to arrive, this time thanks to Coulthard's title fight-changing rollover near pit entry.

By the time the race got going again it had become time certain, making it a two-lap sprint to the end. And despite mirrors full of Winterbottom's Ford, van Gisbergen was able to keep his slim title hopes alive with victory

Nursing a suspected engine problem throughout the final stint, McLaughlin was able to come home third, ahead of points leader Jamie Whincup.

Chaz Mostert, who like van Gisbergen came into the round with faint title hopes, is now all but out of contention, a drive-through for the initial contact with Reynolds leaving him down in 23rd and 210 off Whincup in the points.

Race results:

Cla#DriverCarGapPoints
1 97 new_zealand Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF  1hr23m58.8114s 150
2 5 australia Mark Winterbottom  Ford Falcon FG-X 0.8173 138
3 17 new_zealand Scott McLaughlin  Ford Falcon FG-X 1.4249 129
4 88 australia Jamie Whincup  Holden Commodore VF 1.8798 120
5 56 australia Jason Bright  Ford Falcon FG-X 2.5530 111
6 14 australia Tim Slade  Holden Commodore VF 3.1603 102
7 33 australia Garth Tander  Holden Commodore VF 3.9513 96
8 888 australia Craig Lowndes  Holden Commodore VF 4.3147 90
9 6 australia Cameron Waters  Ford Falcon FG-X 4.7580 84
10 18 australia Lee Holdsworth  Holden Commodore VF 5.2802 78
11 15 australia Rick Kelly  Nissan Altima 6.4743 72
12 19 australia Will Davison  Holden Commodore VF 6.7562 69
13 34 australia James Moffat  Holden Commodore VF 7.4968 66
14 2 australia Scott Pye  Holden Commodore VF 8.0738 63
15 7 australia Todd Kelly  Nissan Altima 8.5193 60
16 8 australia Nick Percat  Holden Commodore VF 9.3812 57
17 23 australia Michael Caruso  Nissan Altima 9.9424 54
18 78 switzerland Simona de Silvestro  Nissan Altima 10.2836 51
19 21 australia Tim Blanchard  Holden Commodore VF 10.8550 48
20 99 australia Dale Wood  Holden Commodore VF 12.8035 45
21 3 australia Aaren Russell  Holden Commodore VF 13.7712 42
22 62 australia Jack Perkins  Holden Commodore VF 14.0530 39
23 55 australia Chaz Mostert  Ford Falcon FG-X 50.2411 36
24 9 australia David Reynolds  Holden Commodore VF 3 laps 33
25 22 australia James Courtney  Holden Commodore VF 3 laps 30
  12 new_zealand Fabian Coulthard  Ford Falcon FG/X 10 laps
 
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About this article

Series Supercars
Event Auckland
Location Pukekohe Park Raceway
Drivers Shane van Gisbergen
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
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