The Sandown racecourse was home to a dramatic weekend, across two days of racing which delivered quality racing.
Will Davidson and Shane van Gisbergen were at the forefront of the action. The two rivals were the only drivers to secure pole positions and race victories.
Young guns take podium places
Across the weekend, particularly on Sunday, fans saw both Will Brown and Broc Feeney reach the podium. Both youngsters built foundations early in the race to climb the order and take the final step.
In race 25, Brown climbed from seventh, pinching third place from David Reynolds. The fourth podium of his short career might’ve been his most impressive, following a string of good form toward the end of last season.
In the final race of the day, Feeney, who began ninth, stormed towards the front of the pack. He built momentum during the race, before sneaking onto the podium during the final laps.
“It was a tough weekend up until that final race,” Feeney said.
“We just settled into our own race.
“My biggest strength and improvement this weekend has been my starts and my first laps.
“I’m hoping this podium kicks the confidence back up.”
Currently sixth in the championship, Feeney also mentioned his desire of aiming for a top-five finish in the 2022 championship race.
A whole lot of love for Will Davidson
Davidson has undoubtedly improved this season in comparison to past seasons. The DJR driver earned himself a new contract recently and has been in the form of his life.
In 2022, Davidson has tallied the most pole positions – eight, flaunting his qualifying pace and converting it into the races.
Despite only winning two races, including the first race of the Sandown weekend, Davidson is still pleased with the consistency he has provided this season.
He endured an intense battle with van Gisbergen in the final race of the weekend, which he began on pole. Van Gisbergen walked away with bragging rights, but only just.
“It really surprised me how quick he came through,” Davidson explained about van Gisbergen’s pace.
“There was nothing controlled really going on at all.
Davidson also bagged himself another lap record – 1:07.89. It came with controversy, as Davidson was placed under investigation for a pit-lane exit breach, which he was later fined for.
“It’s really nice banging out big laps,” Davidson said.
Shane Van Gisbergen provided plenty of praise for the newly-contracted driver. The championship leader seems to be enjoying his battles with Davidson throughout 2022.
“He’s [Will Davidson] certainly stepped up this year,” van Gisbergen said.
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Fire scare for Shell V-Power Racing
Sunday morning was full of fireworks early when during race 25 qualifying, Will Davidson’s car sparked a fire in the cockpit.
Running repairs from the mechanics allowed Davidson to get back out for race 26 qualifying and set the fastest time. But for race 25, he watched the grid pass him as he fell to P11.
It was a suspected electrical short which ignited a battery. Davidson steered the Mustang to the pits before hastily exiting.
“It was a weird morning that’s for sure,” Davidson explained.
“It was getting pretty hard to breathe.
“I’d rather not breathe than cause a red flag.”
A battle-filled weekend for Shane van Gisbergen
As mentioned previously, Shane van Gisbergen has appeared to enjoy his hard-fought battles this season, especially against Will Davidson.
Van Gisbergen came from second to displace Davidson in the final race of the weekend to complete a Sunday sweep.
During the race, the two endured intense wheel-to-wheel racing, slick overtakes, and wild manures. The slippery nature of the track made it all crazier, throwing curveballs at what would be standard calculated decisions.
Van Gisbergen was surprised with the pace of Davidson, who continued to show some fight. Van Gisbergen has enjoyed a season filled with victories – 16 to be exact. Many of which he has run away with.
“He kept coming back at me,” van Gisbergen explained.
The Kiwi achieved his 70th race victory which only four drivers have done in the past. Only Mark Skaife, Craig Lowndes, and Jamie Whincup stand in front of him.
van Gisbergen now holds a 500-point lead in the championship, as the grid heads to New Zealand for the next round, before the all-important Bathurst 1000.
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