Photo: Supercars

Shane van Gisbergen beats Brodie Kostecki to race one honours

Shane van Gisbergen emerged on top of a race-long battle with championship leader Brodie Kostecki to secure victory in the opening Supercars race of the weekend in Perth.

The defending series champion had qualified on pole position, but Kostecki made the better start from alongside on the front row to sweep into the lead on the run to turn one in his Erebus Motorsport-run car.

Kostecki would lead the early stages of the race from van Gisbergen and David Reynolds before van Gisbergen saw his chance to grab P1 as he slipped ahead on the run to turn seven, only for Kostecki to fight back on the following lap – just before he dived in to make his mandatory stop.

As van Gisbergen elected to run long on his first stint, Reynolds assumed the defacto lead of the race having pitted before Kostecki to get the undercut.

However, the Erebus driver was able to get ahead before van Gisbergen dived in for his stop – meaning Kostecki round himself back at the front from Reynolds and James Courtney, who jumped up the order during the stops.

On fresher rubber, van Gisbergen wasted little time in clearing both Courtney and Reynolds to reclaim second and quickly wiped out a deficit of more than two seconds to Kostecki as the pair went wheel-to-wheel for the lead.

Contact between the pair would see Kostecki handed a bad sportsmanship flag for being overly defensive before van Gisbergen was finally able to make a move stick to secure the win.

Kostecki would have to settle for second spot – albeit retaining the points lead ahead of Chaz Mostert and van Gisbergen – with Reynolds in a close third having taken advantage of the squabble for the lead to close in on the pair ahead.

Courtney would lose out on fourth late on to the impressive Todd Hazelwood, who gambled on a late stop to come through to fourth despite starting the race outside the top ten, with Matt Payne rounding out the top six.