Van Gisbergen revels in the wet to continue Kiwi domination in race 3 at Albert Park

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The rain in Melbourne played a bit of havoc with the third race for the V8 Supercars at the Albert Park Circuit. While it was a non-points event, the drivers were pushing for the victory. Race 4 is scheduled for Sunday.

Shane van Gisbergen has no idea why he drives so well in the wet. But he does; and might well hope for more this year as the Kiwis continue to dominate the MSS Security Challenge at the Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

Van Gisbergen came through the pack not once but twice to street the V8 Supercar field in the third of four races at Albert Park this weekend, following on from Fabian Coulthard who dominated until then.

In the first time the brand new Car of 'Now' was trialled in the wet van Gisbergen bolted in his Tekno VIP Petfoods Commodore, beating home Red Bull Racing Australia's Craig Lowndes and his team-mate/boss Jonathon Web in his Darrell Lea Holden.

It was a really cool race to win, lots of fun and passing. I really enjoyed it.

Shane van Gisbergen

"It started raining and everybody kept saying 'you love the wet'. But I hate it as much as anyone else. Your boots get wet and it's not fun but I seem to go well in it. I can't tell you what it is but I can't hate it that much I guess," Van Gisbergen said.

"The car was hooked up and I managed to drive it okay but I would definitely prefer a dry race that's for sure."

In what was a spectacular race thanks to the conditions Van Gisbergen's extreme car control came to the fore.

"On the out lap it was so slippery and I guess everyone had the same problem. I got to the end of the first lap in the lead and forgot to brake. Then I had to do it all again," he said.

"It was a really cool race to win, lots of fun and passing. I really enjoyed it."

Lowndes is also a great exponent in the wet, and most conditions, but said van Gisbergen was simply too hot for him to chase down.

"We didn't change the car much as we thought it was going dry up or at least have patches. The car wasn't completely right for the conditions but we had a red hot go," said Lowndes.

"When Shane started disappearing down the road it was going to be silly of me to try to catch him and end up in the gravel trap."

A marshal clears rain water from the circuit
A marshal clears rain water from the circuit

Photo by: XPB Images

The greasy conditions led to pre-race nerves amongst all the teams and driver who wrestled over whether to start on wet or dry tyres, with most choosing the former and then needing to decide whether to pit for dry tyres or take the option of not pitting and staying out on wets for the duration.

As he had done in the previous two races Coulthard got a great start and led the pack. Not so for his team-mate Bright who slid for what seemed an eternity off the start line, quickly shuffling way back from the front row.

Lowndes tried a bold move on Coulthard late on lap one as the two went side by side for several corners. Lowndes had the advantage on two of the right handers but Coulthard had the inside line on the third left-hander. With Coulthard standing his ground Lowndes ran out of room and slid wide, losing a few spots.

All the while wet-tracker Van Gisbergen was absolutely flying through the field from ninth on the grid and briefly led the race until a small mistake lost him positions. He quickly roared back into second with a pass on Coulthard on lap three. The wet conditions had Lowndes and Van Gisbergen sliding all over the place in a fascinating battle.

Van Gisbergen's sheer pace meant it wasn't long before he retook the lead, and then went about extending that to an unassailable lead in the closing laps. Lowndes too recovered to quickly reclaim second but was too far back from Van Gisbergen to make any impact.

Webb managed to get past Coulthard on lap eight when the Kiwi went wide on one corner. Coulthard was not going to give up although the car that has been so dominant across the weekend was not as good in the wet.

There was some great racing right through the field including at one stage three of the Nissan Altima jousting with each other over a series of laps and FPR pair of Will Davison and David Reynolds pushing the limits against each other, taking no prisoners along the way.

Rookie Ekol entry Scott Pye has his best day so far with a great run, dicing with the best in the sport in Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom who both started at the rear of the grid following earlier race penalties.

The fourth and final race of the weekend starts tomorrow at 1.20pm.

V8 Supercars/

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About this article
Series V8SUPERCARS
Article type Race reports
Tags albert park, commodore, coulthard, ford, holden, lowndes, nissan, v8supercars, van gisbergen