Red Bull Racing Australia drivers Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup are now a win a piece at Pukekohe, after van Gisbergen won today’s second race.
The excitement at the front all happened on the opening two laps, with the two Red Bull drivers staging a thrilling battle for the lead. While van Gisbergen got the best of the start, it was Whincup who had all the pace on cold tyres. Twice Whincup made a lunge into Turn 8, and on the second attempt he even managed to run side-by-side with his teammate right the way through the fast final complex and onto the main straight.
But van Gisbergen managed to just hold onto the lead, before picking up the pace on Lap 3 and making a break for it. He didn’t get too far down the road initially, Whincup holding the gap at just over half a second for the first half of the race. But on Lap 19 Whincup ran too long at the end of the back straight, dropping to well over a second behind after touring through the shortcut chicane.
That was enough to ensure van Gisbergen could take a popular win on New Zealand soil, while Whincup was forced to settle for second and lose a handful of points in the title fight.
“What an awesome race, that battle at the start was really cool,” said van Gisbergen. “I needed to get a better start, but we went into Turn 1 side-by-side. I’m so stoked to win here.”
“The start was critical,” added Whincup. “I had a good start, but Shane got a better one. We had a good old battle, he was pretty ballsy through the second last corner so I thought ‘I’ll raise you on the last’.”
Chaz Mostert was a lonely third, his only decent look at the Bulls coming in the first few laps as he shadowed them during the scuffle for the lead. Once the race settled down it was clear he didn’t have the pace to chase the T8 Commodores, but could comfortably ease away from Fabian Coulthard to take third.
Coulthard came home fourth, having spent most of the race with Mark Winterbottom in his mirrors.
Behind those two it was another decent size gap back to Will Davison, who held off Race 1 podium finisher Scott McLaughlin.
David Reynolds put in a fine driver in the unfancied Erebus Commodore to finish eighth ahead of Michael Caruso, while Garth Tander was a big mover as he cut through the field to grab 10th from Scott Pye a couple of laps from the end.