2015 V8 Supercars Championship | Gold Coast 600
Article and Images by Rhys Vandersyde
V8 Supercars |Castrol Gold Coast 600 – Saturday
Threatening overcast skies greeted drivers and fans as they made their way to the Surfers Paradise street circuit in Queensland for day two of the Castrol Gold Coast 600.
The day would feature Qualifying and a Top 10 Shootout to determine the grid for the 300 kilometre Race 26 of the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship.
The V8 Supercars would wake up the streets of the Gold Coast with their 20 minute morning qualifying session. Shane Van Gisbergen (No. 97 Team Darrell Lea) setting the fastest time with a 1.11.0913 putting him on provisional pole with the shoot out later in the day.
Jamie Whincup (No. 1 Red Bull Racing Australia) was second fastest in the session, beating out the Nissan of Rick Kelly (No. 15 Jack Daniel’s Racing) and the Volvo of Scott McLaughlin (No. 33 Wilson Security Racing).
The running order for the Top 10 Shootout started with David Reynolds (Bottle-O Racing), Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Australia), Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team), James Moffat (Nissan Motorsport), Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew), Tim Slade (Supercheap Auto Racing), Scott McLaughlin (Wilson Security Racing), Rick Kelly (Jack Daniel’s Racing), Jamie Whincup (Red Bull Racing Australia) and Shane Van Gisbergen (Team Darrell Lea)
Mark Winterbottom in the Ford Falcon set the pace early with a lap time of 1:11.8636 for Pepsi Max Crew. Scott McLaughlin set a scintillating time of 1:11.6854 in his Volvo S60.
However Shane Van Gisbergen would spoil the party for McLaughlin nabbing the fastest time with a blisteringly fast final sector to lock in a time of 1:11.5442 in his Holden Commodore setting an all Kiwi front race.
Winterbottom remained fast enough to lock in third on the grid with Rick Kelly in his Nissan Altima alongside in fourth.
The threatening skies continued to haunt teams as they lined up on the grid for the first race of the weekend. Several teams decided to change tyres on the grid to keep their options open later in the race with most teams also electing to use their nominated co-drivers to start the race.
Jonathan Webb (No. 97 Team Darrell Lea) made the most of his team’s pole position, launching off the start to claim the early lead. Alex Premat (No. 33 Wilson Security Racing) and David Russell (No. 15 Jack Daniels Racing) slotted into second and third
Paul Dumbrell made a mistake early collecting the wall in the No. 1 Red Bull Racing Australia Holden he was sharing with Jamie Whincup. He nursed the car back to the pits for repairs but resumed the race13 laps later.
Championship leader Mark Winterbottom would also have issues when he took over the driving duties from Steve Owen in the No. 5 Pepsi Max Crew entry. An unsafe release put him into the path of Garth Tander in the No. 2 Holden Racing Team car which resulted in contact and left Winterbottom in the pits for 14 laps for repairs.
Team BOC also struggled with Jason Bright suffering a power steering failure putting him to the back of the grid also. He wasn’t the only person to suffer power steering issues, with Scott McLaughlin’s Wilson Security Volvo suffering the same fate.
However with all the issues, it wasn’t until there were 17 laps left to run that the Safety Car would make an appearance to allow marshals to clean up debris.
The race would resume with Shane Van Gisbergen (Team Darrell Lea), David Reynolds (Bottle-O Racing) and Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Australia) fighting it out for the lead.
Behind there was havoc with teammates Tim Slade (Supercheap Auto Racing) and Lee Holdsworth (Walkinshaw Racing) coming together. Slade would resume but Holdsworth made it back to the pits only to end his race.
Out in front Van Gisbergen would hold on for the win to beat Reynolds in second position and Lowndes finishing in third.
In the post-race press conference both Van Gisbergen and Webb confirmed “The car was amazing”. Van Gisbergen, continued with “It wasn’t just me; we came in with a 10 second lead thanks to Webby (Jonathon Webb)”.
V8 Supercars action continues on the Gold Coast with the final 300 kilometre race of the weekend.
The V8 Supercars Championship continues tomorrow on the streets of the Gold Coast in Queensland with the final round of the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
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