Triple Eight One-Two finish as van Gisbergen doubles up on Sunday
Shane van Gisbergen has backed up from his win earlier today to convert for another 100 points after leading home his Triple Eight team-mate Jamie Whincup to a one-two finish in the closing race at Townsville.
Despite starting down in 12th place, a strong opening stint for the Kiwi saw him move up the order and fall into the right place at the right time when a late safety car came out, compressing the field and allowing him to pick off cars with significantly better tyre quality.
The fast-starting Brad Jones Racing cars of Todd Hazelwood and Nick Percat made a clean run into the first turns after locking out the front row, the polesitter ending up on top to lead in the opening laps while further back, Shane van Gisbergen was on a charge after qualifying 12th, going up five places in the #97 Triple Eight car.
After starting tenth and struggling to get much higher than eighth, Scott McLaughlin pitted on lap eight, the DJR Team Penske crew putting on three tyres in just on seven seconds to send him back onto the track in fresh air, putting in fastest laps in the process.
Percat started to struggle to keep those behind him in his rear view mirror, relinquishing a place to the Walkinshaw Andretti United car of Chaz Mostert then the #88 of Jamie Whincup. When he moved across to come in to the pit lane, Cam Waters had to check up in his Tickford Racing Mustang, getting tagged and spun by van Gisbergen which caused him to lose a handful of spots.
Whincup was able to come out in front of Percat after his stop as Hazelwood came in from the lead on lap 18, taking on four tyres to emerge on track behind McLaughlin but with Dunlop tyres that were 10 laps fresher than the championship leader in front of him.
Mostert was next to come in, ending up two spots behind Percat while van Gisbergen relinquished the lead just as the safety car was deployed thanks to a crash for the Erebus car of Anton de Pasquale which had been running in the top ten earlier in the race.
Through the back section of the track, de Pasquale suffered a suspension failure, ending up in the tyre wall and adding salt to the wounds of a tough day for the Erebus crew as his team-mate David Reynolds circulated down in 19th.
With the race being restarted, McLaughlin led from Hazelwood, Whincup, Percat, Mostert, Lee Holdsworth, Waters, Fabian Coulthard, van Gisbergen and Jack Le Brocq in the top ten.
van Gisbergen was the biggest winner on the first lap after the restart, picking off Coulthard and Waters before getting by Holdsworth on the next lap as the fight between Hazelwood and Whincup allowed McLaughlin to stretch out a buffer.
The Triple Eight cars were able to take the two bottom spots on the podium provisionally after squeezing past Mostert and Hazelwood, allowing Whincup to set his sights on championship rival McLaughlin who was starting to struggle on older rubber.
A strategic swapping of positions for the Triple Eight boys saw van Gisbergen get past his team-mate and then McLaughlin, running the #17 car wide which allowed Whincup to move by into second place.
van Gisbergen controlled until the flag on younger tyres ahead of Whincup while McLaughlin was able to keep Mostert behind him on the run to the line, both ending up ahead of a hard-charging Scott Pye from Team 18.
After locking out the front row, the BJR duo of Hazelwood and Percat could only manage sixth and seventh respectively, just ahead of Coulthard who had old sparring partner James Courtney behind him as the fastest Tickford Racing car with team-mate Holdsworth rounding out the top ten.
At the completion of the round, McLaughlin has extended his championship lead over Whincup by 20 points with third placed Mostert over a round behind the leader in the title hunt.