Wet and Wild Weekend
The rain came out for round two of the 2021 Supercars Season and made for some incredibly treacherous and entertaining racing.
Championship leader Shane Van Gisbergen entered the weekend having undergone successful surgery on his collarbone after a mountain biking accident. He left as a hero having accomplished one of the most impressive weekends in Supercars history.
Three races were held over the weekend, one was in the dry on Saturday but the next two were held on Sunday in wet conditions.
Chaz Mostert lined up on pole for race 1 with Cam Waters close behind. Van Gisbergen appeared to be struggling with his injuries lingering down in 17th. His Red Bull teammate Jamie Whincup was third.
Mostert had a terrible getaway off the line which meant he swarmed by the three behind. Four-wide entering turn one, Waters entered first with Mark Winterbottom managing to make his way up from fourth to second. Mostert had dropped down to fourth after being overtaken by through turn two.
Van Gisbergen gained five places in the opening lap and was charging up the field. He continued this throughout the race and by lap 20 had overtaken Will Davison for 5th.
Meanwhile the top three were racing hard, separated by less than a second. They all decided to enter the pits at the exact same time. Taking advantage of his earlier pit stop Mostert passed all three to retake first.
The end of the race was thrilling. A top four of Mostert, Waters, Whincup and incredibly… Van Gisbergen were fighting closely.
Two laps to go and Van Gisbergen took advantage of the battling three and made a sensational move up the inside of both Mostert and Whincup. Side by side on the last lap and Van Gisbergen overtake Waters for the lead at turn one.
Starting on 17th on the grid and with a broken collarbone Shane Van Gisbergen had won the first race of the weekend with Waters second and Whincup third.
Van Gisbergen brushed of his previous qualifying session to grab pole for race two, Whincup was second and Mostert third.
It was time for the first wet race of 2021. In contrast to race one, Mostert managed to overtake both Red Bulls to claim first by the end of lap one. Mostert and Van Gisbergen would continue to fight for the lead throughout the race.
The rain continued to fall and the drivers continued to battle, with cars slipping and sliding as they struggled to balance hard racing with simply staying on track.
Van Gisbergen eventually broke away from Mostert which left him to fight Waters. They came to blows with two lap left as Waters was sent spinning. Remarkably he regained control and didn’t lose any positions. However, Mostert had lost second place to Andre Heimgartner, who was subsequently overtaken by Whincup.
It was the same top three from race one. Shane Van Gisbergen crossed the line for yet another win in 2021, Waters held on to second and Whincup was third.
For the third and final race, it was Van Gisbergen on pole, his teammate Whincup second and Will Davison third.
Both Red Bulls held their positions at the start, but Davison lost out to David Reynolds off the line. Reynolds also managed to pass Whincup on lap two.
After lining up third for the start it all went wrong for Davison on lap 3. After sliding sideways across the track and re-entering in 10th position.
An impressive move at the last turn on lap eight allowed for Brodie Kostecki to overtake Whincup for third. He would eventually move up top second thanks to a strong strategy.
Van Gisbergen crossed the line to take all three race wins from the weekend. Kostecki claimed a maiden podium after an impressive drive into second and Reynolds finished third.
Simply unbeatable. five races, five wins. Any way you put it Shane Van Gisbergen has had one of the most impressive an historic openings to any Supercars season. With a broken collarbone he took all three victories at Sandown. One of which from 17th on the grid.
A historic weekend now sees him hold the championship lead by 150 points entering round three at Symmons Plains in two weeks’ time.