Shane Van Gisbergen delivers Supercars stunner in Pukekohe Park finale

New Zealand driver Shane van Gisbergen has claimed the final two Supercars races at Pukekohe Park.

New Zealand driver Shane van Gisbergen has claimed the final two Supercars races at Pukekohe Park. Photo: AAP/Edge Photographics

Shane van Gisbergen has sent off Pukekohe Park with a roar, hunting Cam Waters to take victory in the final ever Supercars race at the venue.

The Aucklander won Sunday’s first race, but starting from eighth on the grid in the second, he was given little prospect of doubling up around the tight New Zealand circuit.

However, the series leader thrilled huge crowds to surge through the field, overtaking Waters for the race lead with three laps left.,

“From eighth I didn’t think we could do that,” van Gisbergen said.

“The car was amazing … I just didn’t give up, I just kept throwing it at it.”

Van Gisbergen has dominated the sport in 2022, but rarely has he set so many pulses racing.

He celebrated with burnouts in front of the main grandstand, then jumping on his car and fist-pumping.

Third-place finisher Andre Heimgartner, another Kiwi, was given a similar roar when he joined his compatriot on the podium.

“This is a dream end for me, a dream end for Pukekohe,” Heimgartner said.

Sunday’s two 41-lap races packed an incredible amount of drama, including two high-speed crashes that brought a pair of safety cars and a red flag, and even a bit of pit lane biffo.

The bottom line is that van Gisbergen can head to the Bathurst 1000, the next event in the schedule, without fear of losing control of the championship.

Van Gisbergen has improved his surely untouchable series lead to 525 points, and boasts 18 race wins this year, matching fellow Kiwi Scott McLaughlin’s record, with five races to come.

“What a feeling. I’m going to miss this place,” van Gisbergen said.

“It’s hard to put into words right now. It’s a dream. I grew up watching Supercars here and fell in love with it and wanted to become a Supercars driver.”

Van Gisbergen becomes the first man to win the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy three times.

Saturday’s winner Will Davison will rue his Sunday, botching a passing move on van Gisbergen for the lead in race 28 to finish fourth, then winding up 23rd after a race 29 disaster.

Davison was too quick on the accelerator in pit lane, taking off as his team tightened his wheel, meaning he needed to pit again to fix it, and then once more as a penalty.

Further back in the field, James Courtney and Will Brown both walked away from major crashes.

Courtney was sandwiched and spun around before hitting the wall at high speed, sending parts of his car to screams in the nearby crowd.

In the earlier race, Brown was sent flying by Mark Winterbottom – who announced a two-year contract extension earlier in the day – after the pair duelled for a lap.

Brown was sent off the track at 180km/h, saying “it was the biggest hit I’ve ever had”, before unloading on Winterbottom in the garage, with his team manager pushing the veteran and telling him to leave.

Anton De Pasquale also joined Brown in lap-one retirement after the Shell V Power man was turned around by an unsighted Brodie Kostecki and speared into the wall.


Topics: Supercars
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