Shane van Gisbergen has made a major dent in sidelined star Scott McLaughlin’s Supercars series lead after claiming the Gold Coast 600’s final race.
Van Gisbergen made the most of McLaughlin’s absence after the Ford driver crashed out dramatically in qualifying, winning the 102-lap event by 0.17 of a second ahead of Holden teammate Jamie Whincup.
The Holden driver cut McLaughlin’s series lead from 613 to 463 points going into the final two rounds.
The next round is the Sandown 500 from November 8-10 which has 300 points up for grabs for the winner.
McLaughlin’s hopes of wrapping up the Supercars championship title on Sunday were in tatters when the Ford star was ruled out of the Gold Coast finale after his horror accident.
McLaughlin’s Mustang hit the inside kerb at 140km/h at the tough concrete wall-lined street circuit and ended up on its side on turn four.
The Kiwi could have secured back-to-back championships if he finished the Gold Coast 600 holding a 600-point lead over van Gisbergen.
Now McLaughlin is firmly in van Gisbergen’s sights.
The Ford star is also looking for a new ride, with his Mustang written off in the spectacular qualifying crash.
His Ford outfit DJR Team Penske is expected to build a new Mustang for the Sandown 500 showdown.
David Reynolds – assisted by co-driver Luke Youlden – finished third, marking the first all-Holden podium since the 2018 Sandown 500.
Van Gisbergen set himself up for Sunday’s victory when he claimed pole position.
His co-driver Garth Tander kept his nerve at the race start, holding out the threat of Whincup’s teammate Craig Lowndes at the front of the grid to lead the field through a chaotic first lap.
Holden’s Todd Hazelwood copped a drive-through penalty for sparking a multiple-car pile-up at turn 11 on the opening lap that somehow avoided a safety car.
Whincup and, at one stage, Ford gun Cam Waters’ co-driver Michael Caruso took turns as race front runners, but van Gisbergen showed his class when he reclaimed the lead on lap 62 after the compulsory two pit stops and never looked back.
It was a strong weekend for van Gisbergen’s Red Bull Racing Holden team.
On Saturday, Whincup claimed the 300km race ahead of van Gisbergen with McLaughlin third.
A fast-finishing van Gisbergen was told by the RBR garage to back off from Whincup on Saturday to ensure a Holden one-two finish.
There was drama before Sunday qualifying with Holden’s Richie Stanaway stood down by Garry Rogers Motorsport due to disciplinary reasons and replaced by Dylan O’Keeffe, who finished 18th in the 23-strong field.