Photo: Supercars

Shane van Gisbergen breaks drought with first win of 2020, takes win 200 for Triple Eight

Triple Eight’s Shane van Gisbergen has finally broken through for his first Supercars win of 2020 after a commanding drive in the penultimate race at this weekend’s Townsville round, securing the 200th Supercars Championship race win for his team in the process.

Breaking his drought which stretches back to the last race of 2019 in Newcastle, van Gisbergen showed the pace which he had yesterday before a power steering failure put an end to his charge in the opening race of the round, going from fourth on the grid to take the flag at the end of 39 laps around the Reid Park Circuit.

Despite starting from the second row of the grid, a good conversion off the line saw the 2016 series champion pass current series leader Scott McLaughlin on the run to Turn 3, getting around the outside of the DJR Team Penske driver to take second place.

After sitting behind polesitter and race leader Nick Percat for a few laps, he pounced on the Brad Jones Racing car on lap seven, going through to the lead and checking out to leave an air gap to his chasers behind.

McLaughlin was followed into the pits by his championship rival Jamie Whincup on lap 15, a slow stop for the #17 resulting in the Triple Eight #88 car gaining time in the stops to come out on the rear bumper of McLaughlin after both took on three tyres.

Copying the same strategy, van Gisbergen came in two laps later for his stop, taking on four tyres and rejoining the track with a healthy lead over those behind him

Percat relinquished the lead on lap 21, rejoining the track in effective eighth place but was able to make good use of the fresher Dunlop rubber to work his way back up the order, getting as high as fourth behind Whincup who had halted his charge on McLaughlin.

Out in front, van Gisbergen was able to retain his comfortable seven second lead to take his 36th career win ahead of McLaughlin whose second place allowed him to stretch out more of a points advantage over Whincup who finished third.

Percat dropped from taking pole to finish fourth, needing to learn from the lessons through the race to come back stronger in this afternoon’s last race where he’ll be starting from second alongside team-mate Todd Hazelwood, the young BJR driver earning a 15 second penalty for a pit lane infringement.

The top ten was completed by three Tickford Racing cars getting amongst the front with Cam Waters in fifth, Jack Le Brocq in seventh and Lee Holdsworth in eighth. Both Team 18 cars of Scott Pye and Mark Winterbottom ended up sixth and ninth respectively while Chaz Mostert recovered to finish tenth for Walkinshaw Andretti United.