14/04/2024

Chaz Mostert claims his first victory of the season and takes the lead of the championship. (Image: Walkinshaw Andretti United)

Chaz Mostert broke a long standing record across the first weekend of Supercars action in 2022, with plenty of surprises unravelling at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2022 Supercars season have come and gone. Plenty of surprises were unravelled and records were beaten across the weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park.

It has been over 160 races since a driver from a team other than Triple Eight or DJR have led the championship. Now, Walkinshaw driver Chaz Mostert sits atop the Supercars championship following their first stop on the map.

Mostert proved to be the most consistent over the weekend, with two podiums across the two opening races alongside DJR driver, Anton de Pasquale.

The Walkinshaw driver put his best foot forward during the weekend as he claimed the first championship lead of his career. He came up trumps with a 12 point gap to second placed de Pasquale and a 27 point lead to reigning champ Shane van Gisbergen.

Mostert made up ground in both races, due to poor qualifying results. In race one he climbed from eighth to sneak a podium finish, and in race two he leapfrogged the field from seventh to claim his first win of the season.

Saturday

Qualifying

De Pasquale showed impressive pace on Saturday. He gained entry to the top 10 shootout in fine style with his sole lap taking him to the top of the charts.

Newcomer Broc Fenney held onto his top 10 shootout berth, besting a fast Bryce Fullwood by 0.06 seconds, at the chequered flag.

De Pasquale continued his form to take out the first pole position of the season by almost two tenths over reigning champion Shane van Gisbergen.

A major gap parted the top two from the rest of the top 10. Tim Slade and Andre Heimgartner rounded out the second row of the grid, over a half a second slower than the leaders.

Race 1

When the lights went out for the first race of the season, Erebus’ Will Brown was off the line the best. He climbed from seventh to third by the first round of corners.

Scott Pye was the first one into the garage, when his Team 18 Commodore went up in smoke during a battle with James Courtney. The crew were able to get the car back on the track, but couldn’t get the required number of laps completed.

Van Gisbergen’s three-stop strategy proved to be the best, as he made light work of de Pasquale with 10 laps remaining. He stormed home towards the chequered flag and took the first win of the season.

De Pasquale and Mostert completed the podium, around 20 seconds off the lead of the race.

Sunday

Qualifying

Sunday was a wet affair, but van Gisbergen was left out to dry when his final flying lap was deleted as he went off the circuit, eventually qualifying in 21st – missing out on the shootout.

Mostert’s last gasp was his best, when his final flying lap put him atop of the charts ahead of the top 10 shootout.

The third-to-last run of the shootout saw Brodie Kostecki drive his car to pole position, the first of his career. De Pasquale joined him on the front row, with an impressive run directly after.

The track continued to dampen, as did Mostert’s hopes of achieving pole. His run put him seventh for the race.

Race 2

De Pasquale made the most of the clean line in second position on the grid. When the lights went out, he blazed into the lead before the first corner.

David Reynolds did not endure the same luck, finding the grass in a tough battle, which in turn ripped his front left tire off the rims on the opening lap.

The carnage continued soon after, when van Gisbergen used his rally experience to make his way out of the rice field after skidding off the track.

On lap 31, both Jake Kostecki and Garry Jacobson caused a safety car for separate incidents, as both cars were left stranded on the track.

A key move was made by Mostert on de Pasquale on lap 51, clearing the DJR driver long before the chequered flag.

Jack Le Brocq was disciplined with a bad sportsmanship flag on lap 59, during a battle with Feeney. The drivers went tit-for-tat a touch too far, resulting in the infringement.

The roll of unfortunate events continued for Le Brocq, when his chance to take the lead of the race was squandered. His team decided to roll the dice with the dry compound tyre on a wet track, resulting in Le Brocq being stuck in the runoff.

Once Le Brocq had finally escaped, his bonnet funnily opened. He luckily made it to the pit lane with minimal vision.

Following the commotion of safety cars, Mostert stormed home for his first victory of the 2022 season, with Brodie Kostecki and de Pasquale filling up the podium.

Chequered flag

The opening two races of the season did not disappoint, with two separate winners, and a load of action for spectators to see.

Thus, resulting in a new championship leader in Chaz Mostert – the first driver not from Triple Eight or DJR to lead a championship in over 160 races.

Chaz Mostert leads the field after two rounds at Sydney Motorsport Park. (Image: Supercars)

Although his performance proved worthy of praise, Mostert claimed after the race, “I think the same guy that won last year is still the one to beat this year”.

“[van Gisbergen] doesn’t have a bad day when it looks like he’s having a bad day.”

Van Gisbergen and Mostert both had their fair share of podiums last year, so we can hopefully expect some more excitement throughout the remainder of the season.

The Supercars travel to Tasmania next for the Tasmania SuperSprint, which takes place from March 26 to 27.

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