Holden’s Kiwi lays down the Albert Park law, reports Mark Fattore
Shane Van Gisbergen was imperious in the opening MSS Security V8 Supercars Challenge race at the 2014 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
The New Zealander led from start to finish to claim the spoils over fellow-Holden driver Jamie Whincup, with Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin in third position.
Gisbergen took maximum advantage of his front row start to claim the hole-shot into Turn 1. Whincup then provided some minor nuisance value before the New Zealander began to break clear, eventually winning the 10-lapper by a massive 6.187 seconds.
It was Van Gisbergen’s second V8 Supercar victory at Albert Park, and he did it by setting the fastest lap of the race – 1:57.4823 – when he had clear air in front of him.
“I got a great start but I didn’t have much grip in those few first laps when Jamie (Whincup) was all over me,” said Van Gisbergen.
“But the car then started to come on and I was able to pull away. It will be interesting to see what happens this afternoon when the track heats up even more.”
Behind Van Gisbergen, a snarling pack of drivers covering positions 2-11 practically ran line astern for most of the journey, with Whincup under fierce attack from McLaughlin and pole-sitter Michael Caruso (Nissan).
McLaughlin nudged his nose in front a few times, but then Whincup always had the run of the racetrack to win back the ascendancy.
Whincup then consolidated in the final few laps to finish one second clear of McLaughlin, with Caruso fourth ahead of Holden trio Fabian Coulthard, Garth Tander and Craig Lowndes. James Moffat (Nissan) was eighth, with Chaz Mostert (Ford) and Todd Kelly (Nissan) seeing out the top 10.
All 25 drivers made it to the finish line and will return for battle at 2:25pm this afternoon.