Stone Brothers Racing secured their first V8 Supercar win with their Ford Falcon driven by Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen
After starting the race in fourth place, 21-year-old Shane Van Gisbergen drove the race of his life to beat home Lee Holdsworth and Garth Tander for the race win.
Van Gisbergen was always in contention, with the fast car posting some of the races fastest laps in the early stages of the 59-lap race.
The only threat to Van Gisbergen’s podium hopes was the possibility of rain, which plagued the street circuit over the last few days.
But like a fairytale, the clouds parted soon after the race start and the majority of the race was able to be run in near-idyllic conditions, with only the lightest of showers materialising in the closing laps of the race, but not enough to rain on Van Gisbergen’s parade.
It was almost a fantasy finish for SBR, with the #9 IRWIN Racing Falcon of Alex Davison and #47 Lucky 7 Racing Falcon of Tim Slade also looking to cross the line in the top ten, but a coming together in the closing stages unfortunately curtailed Slade’s race, but Davison was able to keep going to cross the line in seventh place.
Van Gisbergen’s win today was the first in his V8 Supercar career and the first for a New Zealander at the Hamilton circuit, which is a great buoy for Van Gisbergen’s confidence as he heads to Perth in a fortnight’s time for the Trading Post Challenge at Barbagallo.
“Today was a dream come true. It was a really emotional race towards the end there. I could hear the crowd cheering me on and really had to concentrate.. I had a few “c’mon Shane” moments there and started making mistakes so I asked Paul (Forgie)my engineer not to tell me how many laps were left so I could concentrate on just getting the laps down," Van Gisbergen said.
“Our car had really good cold tyre speed so at every restart (after the several safety car periods) I was able to make a place which was pretty good. I could see Lee (Holdsworth) had some pace and he kept me on my toes but we had the whole package today and the emotional kick I had really helped me stay in front. It was d??j?? vu like Sydney last year but I knew we had plenty of fuel this time – I’m stoked!
“Growing up I was a ‘Murph clapper’; every lap Murph (fellow NZ racer Greg Murphy) went past I’d be clapping so to have the whole crowd behind me today felt pretty cool. It’s such a good day for the team, for Ford for SP Tools – we’ve had a couple of shockers recently so to score this one today will hopefully give us some momentum going into the next round.”
ITM Hamilton 400 Results
1 9 SP Tools Racing Shane Van Gisbergen
2 33 Fujitsu Racing GRM Lee Holdsworth
3 2 Toll Holden Racing Team Garth Tander
4 6 Trading Post FPR Falcon Will Davison
5 49 VIP Petfoods Steve Owen
6 15 Jack Daniel's Racing Rick Kelly
7 4 IRWIN Racing Alex Davison
DNF 47 Lucky 7 Racing Tim Slade
V8 Supercar Championship Points
1 Jamie Whincup 654
2 Rick Kelly 573
3 Craig Lowndes 552
4 Garth Tander 543
5 Mark Winterbottom 543
6 Shane Van Gisbergen 534
7 Will Davison 528
8 Alex Davison 522
23 Tim Slade 267