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Van Gisbergen the rain master

Commodore charger Shane Van Gisbergen has blitzed the field to win the third MSS Security-backed V8 Supercars Challenge race at the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

On a wet track, the 23-year-old old delivered a master class, vaulting through from ninth on the grid to win the 12-lap race by a massive 12.6072 seconds from Craig Lowndes, with Jonathan Webb in third to make it a Commodore clean sweep of the top spots.

Van Gisbergen also set the fastest lap of the race with a 2:11.6281, nearly a second ahead of Webb’s best.

“It was so slippery out there, but also great fun at the start with plenty of passing,” said Van Gisbergen.

“When it started raining, a lot of people were saying that it would be great for me because I like the wet – but like most drivers I actually hate it, as your boots get wet!

“I really can’t tell you why I go so fast in the wet, but it was pretty cool to win.”

The majority of the drivers started on grooved tyres, but the race still produced the full staple of wet-weather antics, including spins, braking lock-ups and eye-catching tail action – with Lowndes one of the ‘worst’ offenders.

Early race leader and already a two-time winner at Albert Park this campaign, Fabian Coulthard (Commodore), finished in a lonely fourth, ahead of David Reynolds (Falcon) and Jason Bright (Commodore).

A number of big names finished outside the top 10, including Mark Winterbottom (Falcon) and Jamie Whincup (Commodore) – although the latter did start from the tail of the field after copping a sanction in race two for spinning his tyres while it was still jacked up in the pits.

There was no pit stop action in race three, however, as the rules allow them to be waived when the drivers are on wet tyres.

Meanwhile, Garth Tander’s miserable weekend continued when he broke a steering arm on his factory Commodore, while German Maro Engel (Mercedes) was the only other DNF.

The fourth and final race is at 1:20pm tomorrow, where grid positions will be decided on the cumulative points score across the first three races – which will leave Coulthard starting from top spot.

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