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Race report
Supercars Townsville

Townsville Supercars: Brown takes race 1 win, series lead

Will Brown survived a first-lap clash with Shane van Gisbergen to win the opening heat of the Townsville 500 and take over the Supercars points lead.

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The Erebus driver put in a controlled performance over 250 kilometres to score a fourth victory of the season so far.

Even better was that teammate Brodie Kostecki, who came into the race as the series leader, endured a tough afternoon and finished 19th, handing the points lead to Brown.

He holds a 43-point advantage over Kostecki, while Broc Feeney is only a single point further back.

The race got off to an action-packed start courtesy of a rapid launch from van Gisbergen.

The Kiwi stormed off the second row of the grid to sweep past David Reynolds through turn 1, before attempting to grab the lead from Brown down the inside of turn 1.

Brown left van Gisbergen just enough space, but van Gisbergen couldn't slow his car enough for the tight right-hander, carting himself and Brown wide.

That allowed Cam Waters to sneak into the lead followed by Feeney with Brown resuming in third. Van Gisbergen found himself tangled with Jack Le Brocq and dropped all the way back to 14th.

Waters initially bolted to a one-second lead over Brown which he was able to maintain across the first 20 laps. It was at that point that he looked to lose his rear tyres, Brown quickly closing in before claiming the lead on lap 23.

By that point Chaz Mostert, who ran fourth in the early laps before being demoted to fifth by Reynolds, had already made his first stop as he looked to execute a three-stop strategy.

He only took on minimal fuel and two new tyres, which left him with a comfortable lead, the best part of 20s over Brown, once the rest of the field cycled through for their first stops.

Waters, meanwhile, went for a long first stop which dropped him to seventh in the queue and handed third on the road to Feeney. That was until Reynolds ran the Triple Eight driver down and took over the place on lap 37.

Shortly before half-race distance Mostert made his second stop, dropping to the back of the top 20 as Brown took back over the lead.

The Erebus driver continued to lead for the rest of the second stint, before Reynolds kicked off the second round of stops for the two-stoppers around 30 laps from home. He emerged behind a hard-changing Andre Heimgartner who stopped on the same lap.

Feeney and Waters pitted on the very next lap, resuming in second and third, while Brown stopped another lap later to cover off his pursuers and retain the effective lead.

It wasn't until the third stint that the safety car made its first appearance after Todd Hazelwood brought his Blanchard Mustang to a stop out on the circuit to address what looked to be a small fire in the wheel arch from rubber build-up.

That bunched up the field for a 17-lap sprint to the finish, Brown leading Feeney and Waters at the restart.

It also brought the three-stopping Mostert back into the game, the Walkinshaw Ford driver sitting ninth in the queue, but with the best tyre condition.

Mostert did indeed go on a charge after the restart, clearing the likes of van Gisbergen, Scott Pye, Reynolds, Heimgarter and Waters as he charged onto the bottom step of the podium.

He even managed to get a look at the back of second-placed Feeney, but ultimately had to settle for third.

Out front there was no stopping Brown, who was flawless in the run to flag to secure a 3.3-second victory.

"Eighty eight laps around here is a long time," said Brown. "But it felt good in there. The car was mega quick on old tyres. I knew in that first stint I had really good tyre life so I just came out of the pits and used that to my advantage. It's awesome to get another win."

Van Gisbergen, who ran long in the first two stints as he looked to recover form his lap 1 drama, also had a tyre advantage over most cars around him after the late restart.

He was able to get by Pye and Heimgartner to move into fifth, before hunting down Waters for fourth despite complaining of rear brake locking in the closing laps.

Waters was demoted to fifth ahead of Pye and Heimgartner, followed by Bryce Fullwood, James Courtney and Will Davison.

The latter fought his way from 18th at the restart using fresh tyres after being tripped up by a fuel rig issues during the race.

It was a tough day for the likes of Nick Percat, who was spin by Mark Winterbottom early in the race, while Anton De Pasquale spent much of the race dealing with an electrical problem.

There was friendly fire between the PremiAir Camaros 10 laps from home, Tim Slade clattering into James Golding at turn 10.

Townsville 500 Race 1 results

Cla # Driver Car Time Gap
1 9 Australia Will Brown Chevrolet    
2 88 Broc Feeney Chevrolet 3.3008  
3 25 Australia Chaz Mostert Ford Mustang GT 5.4383  
4 97 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Chevrolet 11.6317  
5 6 Australia Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT 13.0104  
6 20 Australia Scott Pye Chevrolet 15.5186  
7 8 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner Chevrolet 18.4476  
8 14 Australia Bryce Fullwood Chevrolet 21.7691  
9 5 Australia James Courtney Ford Mustang GT 23.0241  
10 17 Australia Will Davison Ford Mustang GT 25.1925  
11 18 Australia Mark Winterbottom Chevrolet 26.3502  
12 34 Australia Jack Le Brocq Chevrolet 27.5613  
13 55 Australia Thomas Randle Ford Mustang GT 30.2394  
14 777 Declan Fraser Ford Mustang GT 30.8558  
15 19 Matthew Payne Ford Mustang GT 31.3053  
16 96 Australia Macauley Jones Chevrolet 31.4545  
17 35 Cameron Hill Chevrolet 34.6854  
18 23 Australia Tim Slade Chevrolet 36.3651  
19 99 Brodie Kostecki Chevrolet 37.6264  
20 31 Australia James Golding Chevrolet 48.7989  
21 26 Australia David Reynolds Ford Mustang GT 53.5162  
22 4 Australia Jack Smith Chevrolet 1 lap  
23 3 Australia Todd Hazelwood Ford Mustang GT 4 laps  
24 2 Australia Nick Percat Ford Mustang GT 12 laps  
  11 Australia Anton De Pasquale Ford Mustang GT    

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