Van Gisbergen keeps perfect run alive

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Van Gisbergen keeps perfect run alive

The Kiwi, nursing a freshly broken collarbone, completed his clean sweep for the weekend with a clinical performance in full wet conditions.

Apart from a few corners of pressure from teammate Jamie Whincup on the opening lap, van Gisbergen was untroubled across the 36-lap journey.

There was a brief period mid-way through the first stint when second-placed Brodie Kostecki turned van Gisbergen’s four-second gap into a three-second gap. The leader quickly responded, though, pulling the gap out to 4.4s before taking his mandatory service on Lap 26.

The second stint was then a breeze for van Gisbergen, who managed to gap and crossed the line almost 15s clear of the field. 

“It’s unreal,” said van Gisbergen. “The car has been awesome. It’s awesome to race in front of fans again in Melbourne. I’m hurting, but [the collarbone] was okay.”

Kostecki finished a fine second place to bank his first podium finish in Supercars.

The Erebus rookie made impressive progress in the first stint, starting with a well-executed pass on Jamie Whincup coming out of the last corner on Lap 7 to move into third.

He then swiftly ran down David Reynolds, blasting past the former Erebus driver up the back straight to move into second place.

There was a nervous moment right after his stop as Kostecki bounced over the grass between Turns 3 and 4, however he was able to gather the car up without losing a position. 

“It was a really good race,” said Kostecki. “The guys did an awesome job, they got the car turned around. I didn’t think I’d be here [on the pdoium] this early. Hopefully we can carry this momentum through the year.”

Reynolds finished a lonely third, his first podium since joining Kelly Grove Racing, while Whincup slipped back to fourth.

Will Davison led the way for Dick Johnson Racing in fifth, despite an early spin, followed by Tickford’s Cam Waters.

Will Brown capped off an excellent race for Erebus with seventh, ahead of Brad Jones Racing pair Todd Hazelwood and Nick Percat and Team 18’s Mark Winterbottom. 

Chaz Mostert endured a difficult end to a promising weekend, his race getting off to a poor start when he shot across the grass on the way into Turn 4 on the opening lap.

That dropped him back to 13th, the poor conditions making it difficult to make headway once back in the pack.

Things went from bad to worse after his stop, though, Mostert returning to the garage on Lap 14 with a broken throttle cable. 

He returned to the track eight laps later, banking a handful of points for finishing last.

The clean sweep has helped van Gisbergen extend his points lead to over half a round, the gap back to Whincup now 155 points.

Mostert, who was only 33 points behind van Gisbergen heading into the round, is now a sizeable 163 points in arrears.

Race results:

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