Van Gisbergen storms back for podium finish

Last updated 20:31 07/07/2013
Shane van Gisbergen
MARK HORSBURGH

THIRD: Shane van Gisbergen in action in today’s V8 Supercars Championship race in Townsville.

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Kiwi motorsport ace Shane van Gisbergen charged from last to a place on the podium in the V8 Supercars Championship race in Townsville today.

Van Gisbergen, languishing at 21st on the grid, was last after being spun on the first corner before he blitzed his way to third in today's 200km race at Townsville with a remarkable drive and outstanding tactics from their brains' trust.

This followed their debacle on Saturday when the New Zealander went from pole position to finish 17th after a disastrous mistake by the crew during the pit stop.

While much has been made of the new manufacturers in the championship this year, the Townsville results proved a blast from the past for two fierce rivals. The Ford Performance Racing pair of Will Davision and Mark Winbterbottom finished one-two on Saturday but brilliant tactics today saw the Holden Racing Team duo of Garth Tander and James Courtney run first and second. It was their first one-two finish in four years.

The turning point came with an early safety car period with Tander, Courtney and van Gisbergen among the first to pit for soft tyres, gambling that an additional pit stop to use their bank of the faster soft tyres would prove dividends.

The bold tactics worked to perfection for the Holden pairing and the likes of van Gisbergen who went from 21st on the grid to third and veteran Russell Ingall, celebrating his record 226th V8 Supercar start, finishing fifth after starting in 24th.

"That was awesome. I was turned backwards at turn one. There was some crazy stuff at the back of the field," van Gisbergen said. "We were last but took the safety car period to change tyres and the car was awesome and I was able to make plenty of passes.

"To come out third I didn't believe it but we had some good car speed which really helped as well.

"It was a great result and makes up for yesterday."

Van Gisbergen now sits in fifth place overall in the championship ahead of Tander and compatriot Fabian Coulthard who was caught out on the slower hard tyres  to finish 17th.

Young Kiwi star Scott McLaughlin, who started on the front row of the grid, fell well back after the longest of all stints on the hard tyres but made a strong run late on his faster soft tyres to finish ninth. He is in 11th place overall in the championship.

Defending champion Jamie Whincup retains his lead from fellow Red Bull Racing Holden teammate Craig Lowndes despite a forgettable weekend, finishing 11th today.

The next stop is at the Queensland Raceway in Ipswich in three weeks followed by Winton near Melbourne before the championship moves to the three double-driver endurances stops at the Sandown 500, Super Cheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and Armor All Gold Coast 600.

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