Shane van Gisbergen takes the top step of the podium at the Townsville 500. (Image: Supercars/Twitter)

Shane van Gisbergen made a statement in Townsville, winning back-to-back races in entertaining fashion.

Shane van Gisbergen made a statement in Townsville, winning back-to-back races in entertaining fashion.

The Supercars travelled to Townsville for two 250-kilometre races, one each on Saturday and Sunday.

Van Gisbergen extended his lead in the championship, but it wasn’t easy as many drivers had their chances.

The reigning champion is back in business

The reigning Supercars champion was back in full force in Townsville, winning both races across the weekend.

The two victories were van Gisbergen’s 10th and 11th victories of the season. That is eight more than the next best of Chaz Mostert and Cam Waters with three wins.

Van Gisbergen took pole for race 19, but at the race start he was jumped by Will Davidson in P2. It took him 14 laps, but van Gisbergen took back the lead of the race.

With 12 laps left, Davidson held a lead of almost eight seconds to van Gisbergen.

In just eight laps, van Gisbergen re-took the lead of the race, giving him four laps to steady the ship. He eventually took the chequered flag, from Davidson and Waters – who completed the podium.

Race 20 was different, but the same result was served. This time, van Gisbergen began on the second row, in P4.

A long hard-fought race saw himself battling with de Pasquale for the lead of the race, which he eventually got.

De Pasquale was climbing back, especially within the final five laps, but it came down to the final lap.

Final corner fireworks

In the closing stages of race 20, de Pasquale was closing in on van Gisbergen each lap. On the final lap he got to within two seconds, giving him a slight chance of victory.

Gaining at every corner, de Pasquale was within striking distance coming into the final two corners.

As van Gisbergen made his turn at the final corner, de Pasquale shot up the inside, but missed his braking zone.

The contact between the two caused van Gisbergen to spin, controversially allowing de Pasquale to take the chequered flag.

As he approached the finish line, de Pasquale slowed down, allowing van Gisbergen to pass and take the victory.

However, van Gisbergen parked his car behind de Pasquale, forcing him to cross first. By doing this, de Pasquale received a five-second time penalty, which relegated him to P2.

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Welcome back, James

Following the conclusion of his contract, PremiAir Racing driver Garry Jacobson was let go, opening a seat on the grid.

Golding raced within the Supercars competition from 2017 to 2020. His first three seasons were with Garry Rogers Motorsport, while his final season in 2020 was with Team 18.

Two years out of the sport, Golding switched to the S5000 class – open wheel racing. He managed a P4 finish in the 2021 championship, while after five rounds in 2022, he sat in P2.

Golding was confirmed the driver replacement for Jacobson until the end of the season.

Finding his feet

Over the last few rounds, Chaz Mostert has had difficulty with pace and consistency. But at Townsville it looked like he found his mojo.

He took all avenues to get the most out of his car. This meant touching the wall multiple times, to the point where his side mirror was clipped off.

During Sunday qualifying Mostert was in the mix. He eventually qualifyed in P6, following the top 10 shootout.

Race 20 was where Mostert had his best chance at a podium. He was in an ongoing battle with Waters, lasting the final 20 laps of the race.

With both drivers fighting tooth and nail for the final podium place, the battle was certainly going to get feisty.

At the end of the day, it was Waters who prevailed and took the final step of the podium. But Mostert shouldn’t be disheartened from a valiant performance in what was a tough weekend.

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