Shane van Gisbergen entered the weekend with a probable chance of wrapping up the championship. He was nearly crowned champion at the Bathurst 1000, but it was snatched back in the final laps of the Gold Coast 500.
A chaotic weekend on the streets of Surfers Paradise ensued. The usual two 250-kilometre endurance races that include secondary drivers were scrapped, with only primary drivers taking part.
Back-to-back Supercars Champion
Van Gisbergen claimed his second consecutive and third overall Supercars championship on the Gold Coast. The now three-time champion took out both 250-kilometre races, sealing the championship on Saturday.
Following his win at Bathurst, van Gisbergen took the record for the most Supercars wins in a season – 19. Since then, his record has grown, now to 21 races – three clear of Scott McLaughlin.
Van Gisbergen has stood on the podium at least once at each event this season. The only event in which he didn’t win was at the Darwin Triple Crown – finishing third, twice.
He has enjoyed two runs of five consecutive race wins. The first stretching from the two races at Townsville and three at The Bend. He is currently on his second five-race winning streak, which began at the second race at Pukekohe.
Van Gisbergen has joined Australian touring car royalty. He now has the sixth-most pole positions in the competition’s history. He’s now also one of 11 drivers to win three or more championships.
Red Bull Ampol Racing take out Teams’ Championship
Not only did van Gisbergen clean up one championship over the weekend, but he played a monstrous part in delivering the Teams’ Championship.
Following the final race of the weekend, Red Bull Ampol Racing had amassed an unassailable lead in the championship, with two races remaining in Adelaide.
Van Gisbergen claimed over 65 per cent of Red Bull’s points throughout the season, thus far. Sixth-placed rookie Broc Feeney played an impressive role too in his first season.
Doubts were on the horizon for Red Bull at the beginning of the season, on whether it would be able to succeed as a team. Many suggested that Shell V-Power Racing or Tickford Racing could have launched a challenge.
For Triple Eight Race Engineering, it’s now an 11th Teams’ Championship, after the first arrived in 2008 thanks to Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes.
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Sunday’s 11-car pile-up
The Gold Coast 500 is notorious for safety car involvement. The first 250-kilometre race on Saturday had none., which only meant that Sunday’s race was due for carnage.
That was just the tip of the iceberg, as lap four of Sunday’s race witnessed a literal roadblock incident.
James Golding clipped the chicane barrier, sending him sideways and dismantling the barrier. Thomas Randle – behind Golding – made contact with the loose barrier, but escaped the carnage behind.
As Golding hit the wall, drivers had nowhere to go as they exited the chicane doing excess of 150 kilometres per hour.
From the 10 or more cars involved in the pile-up, six had to retire from the race then and there. As well as Golding, Broc Feeney, Lee Holdsworth, Todd Hazelwood, Nick Percat, and Macauley Jones had their races ended.
Randle, who escaped the scene later had to retire after his car was assumed to have lost power on the main straight.
Only 12 of 25 drivers completed the race on the lead lap, with many being helped to stay on the lead lap due to safety cars.
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