Rounds 3, 4, and 5 of the 2022 Supercars season were dominated by Shane van Gisbergen as he decimated his competition to win all three races across the weekend.
Van Gisbergen regained the lead of the 2022 Supercars season from Chaz Mostert, edging the consistent DJR drivers Anton de Pasquale and Will Davidson.
Here is what happened in Symmons Plains across the weekend:
Qualifying for the Round 3 race was completed in three parts, eliminating drivers each round to set the grid.
Contenders de Pasquale and Mostert were both shock eliminations during Q2, starting 12th and 13th on the grid respectively. Mostert endured a power steering leak that in turn resulted in a lack of pace.
Matt Stone Racing drivers Jack Le Brocq and Todd Hazelwood climbed into Q3, putting their cars on the track at the right time.
Cam Waters claimed pole position from Will Davidson on the final lap of Q3. Waters pipped the DJR driver by just under three one-hundredths of a second, with a time of 50.536 seconds.
van Gisbergen qualified 5th in Race 3, behind Triple Eight Engineering youngster, Broc Feeney.
The first laps of the race saw the top five drivers exchange positions as well as paintwork. By lap two, van Gisbergen had climbed ahead of his teammate and Brodie Kostecki jumped from 4th to 2nd.
Thomas Randle was first to touch the grass and sand trap, on lap two. He was luckily able to evade the sand trap, however, he lost track position to the entire field.
Le Brocq had a huge moment early in the race, as he was forced off the track and was headed for the fence. He was able to halt the car in time, but at the expense of his front suspension.
van Gisbergen climbed onto the final podium position hastily by lap four, enhancing his track position for later in the race.
As the pit stops began to occur, van Gisbergen made his moves on the track. He passed Davidson at the hairpin, nudging his toward the wall ensuring his exit was optimised.
On the next lap, van Gisbergen had free rain at Waters who led the race. The Kiwi made an identical pass on Waters to take the lead of the race.
Davidson intended to undercut van Gisbergen with his pit stop and it was nearly pulled off to perfection. However, van Gisbergen had a slight advantage heading into his pit stop which allowed him to clear Davidson on his pit exit. Despite this, Davidson’s undercut worked on Waters, who was relegated to 3rd.
With eight laps to go, Mark Winterbottom and David Reynolds got entangled at the hairpin, causing a spin on the exit. Championship leader, Mostert – an innocent bystander – was trapped behind the two, and also got unfortunately involved.
Although Mostert jumped two positions because of the incident, he was forced to pit with damage across the front of his car.
van Gisbergen stormed home to claim his second win of the season, besting Davidson in second by 2.8 seconds. Waters rounded out the podium in third, 6.2 seconds off the pace of the leader.
Race 4 qualifying heated up at the very end, as the track was hitting optimal temperatures.
It was a solid outing for Triple Eight Race Engineering, as they locked out the front row. van Gisbergen claimed pole with his final lap, lapping in 50.484 seconds. Feeney completed the front row only 1.5 tenths behind the reigning champion.
Both DJR drivers made the top ten this time around, Davidson in 6th and de Pasquale in 8th.
It was an unfortunate qualifying for Waters who found himself in 12th, still only 3.7 tenths from van Gisbergen. Mostert’s qualifying woes continued, as he qualified 16th, 4.4 tenths from the lead.
From pole, van Gisbergen gave himself every chance to run away with the race, without having to make any overtakes early.
However, it was Feeney who got the jump on van Gisbergen at the start, demoting the reigning champion to second straight away.
The safety car was brought out at the end of lap 1, as Le Brocq and Andre Heimgartner hit the fence on the final corner, both stranded in the sand trap, amid the damage.
Le Brocq and Heimgartner going wheel-to-wheel caused an inter-lock, which in turn sent both drivers unstoppably into the wall.
Upon the restart, van Gisbergen was stalking the back of Feeney’s entry, which allowed him to get close enough for an overtake at turn six. 37 laps remained and van Gisbergen had regained the lead.
On lap eight, Jack Smith was sandwiched between Macauley Jones and Jake Kostecki. Kostecki made contact with the wall at the hairpin, and significant damage was caused to the front left of Smith’s car.
Tim Slade endured a battle with Waters on lap 20, which ended sourly for Slade. As the pair headed towards turn six, Slade had the inside line – perfect for the overtake. But he was squeezed onto the grass and the slightest contact forced his car to spin around, across, and off the track.
Slade, unfortunately, lost eight positions in the meantime. Waters received a drive-through penalty for his involvement in the accident.
van Gisbergen ran long during his first stint, compared to the rest of the field. So, when his time to pit occurred, he lost time due to the other cars having newer tires.
Upon re-joining the track, van Gisbergen fell back to second, although, now with newer tires. His teammate, Feeney, took the lead in the race again.
It only took several laps before van Gisbergen was able to take the lead of the race again, before storming the chequered flag for his second consecutive race win.
With three laps remaining, Randle was spun around by Bryce Fullwood at the hairpin. Rather than other cars that had escaped the dirt, Randle was stuck, which brought out the yellow flags. Fullwood received a drive-through penalty for his involvement.
van Gisbergen went back-to-back in races three and four, Feeney achieved his maiden Supercars podium, finishing second. Reynolds completed the podium, holding off a storming Mostert on the final lap – who finished 4th.
Qualifying for Race 5 was completed after qualifying for Race 4 but before Race 4.
Within only a couple of minutes remaining in the session, van Gisbergen was lapping quick, hoping to pip Davidson who had provisional pole position.
van Gisbergen had set the fastest first two sectors of the session, but collided with Slade on the final corner, ending his pole chances momentarily.
With 1:17 on the clock, Triple Eight Race Engineering hoped the session would be continued, however, it wasn’t.
Davidson claimed pole with a time of 50.551 seconds. Le Brocq joined him on the front row, 0.064 seconds behind. van Gisbergen was narrowly demoted to the second row 0.002 seconds behind Le Brocq.
de Pasquale, Feeney, and Waters qualified in the top 10, yet Mostert struggled once again, qualifying 19th.
Matt Stone Racing made a monumental effort to have Le Brocq’s car ready for Race 5, after his shunt in Race 4. Starting on the front row, Le Brocq made the most of it, taking the lead at the first corner.
Race 5 is away and Le Brocq has taken the lead to the first corner! #RepcoSC— Supercars (@supercars) March 27, 2022
It was short-lived, however, as on lap two, approaching the hairpin, Le Brocq locked his brakes causing him to miss the hairpin. Davidson regained the lead with van Gisbergen on his tail.
van Gisbergen in traditional fashion, launched his approach to take the lead at the hairpin. This then set up a move on Davidson at turn six which was pulled off to perfection.
Upon being overtaken, Davidson fell into the clutches of Hazelwood behind. They made contact on the final corner of lap three, which unfortunately resulted in worse for Davidson who fell from second to fifth.
On lap 24, van Gisbergen once again opted to pit later than his rivals. de Pasquale who sat second earlier risked his chances with an undercut. However, it was van Gisbergen who came up trumps, edging de Pasquale on his pit exit, with 20 laps remaining.
With five laps left, DJR chose to invert their drivers, as Davidson was showing more pace and therefore had a better chance of catching van Gisbergen.
But it was no use, as van Gisbergen stormed home to the chequered flag to cap off an immaculate three rounds in Tasmania. The DJR duo of Davidson and de Pasquale rounded out the podium.
Tasmanian triple treat
With three wins out of three in Tasmania, van Gisbergen now had the championship lead heading into Albert Park in two weeks.
The reigning champion demolished his competition across the weekend, making his presence remembered throughout the field.
After five rounds of the 2022 Supercars season, van Gisbergen sits atop with 562 points. de Pasquale and Davidson sit in second and third, on 495 and 440 points respectively.
Triple Eight Race Engineering currently has the Constructors’ Championship by the scruff of the neck, leading with 944 points. DJR is close in second, only nine points off the pace.
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