Supercars Tasmania Supersprint: Latest news, results and talking points

Reigning champion Shane van Gisbergen doesn’t need to resort to sneaky tactics to keep his rivals at bay but did so on the way stamping his authority on this season with a rare feat.

New season, same story emerging. Who is going to step up to catch Shane van Gisbergen this year?

The defending Supercars champion completed a clean sweep of the weekend’s three races in the Tasmania SuperSprint at Symmons Plains on Sunday to open up a handy lead in the championship after just two rounds with a 300-point haul on the Apple Isle.

Stamping his authority in the championship fight early in the season, van Gisbergen came from third on the grid to win the second race ahead of Dick Johnson Racing rivals Will Davison and Anton De Pasquale.

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Shane van Gisbergen was unstoppable in his Red Bull Ampol Holden Commodore ZB at Symmons Plains this weekend. Picture: Getty Images
Shane van Gisbergen was unstoppable in his Red Bull Ampol Holden Commodore ZB at Symmons Plains this weekend. Picture: Getty Images

Earlier, the New Zealand ace led home a one-two finish for Triple Eight as rookie teammate Broc Feeney claimed his first podium finish in Supercars in a dramatic opening sprint race.

Van Gisbergen has now opened up a 67-point lead in the championship standings over De Pasquale, with Davison 122 points behind the series leader heading into the next round at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

After dominating last season to win his second Supercars championship, van Gisbergen said the weekend had been a great result for the team.

“It’s pretty awesome and I can’t thank Red Bull Ampol Racing enough,” van Gisbergen said.

“The car has been really great all weekend and Broc has been up here as well. Each race we had to work for it, some more good passes then — I hope it was good to watch. I’m pumped.”

He revealed the mind games he played during the race over pit strategy, leading his DJR rivals to pit early while he stayed out to build on his lead.

“I was screaming over the radio pretending I had no rear and then made them pit early and I just went, so sucked in,” van Gisbergen said.

Starting from pole, Davison was disappointed he could not convert from the front of the grid.

“I’m a bit disappointed, we tried hard. He is just very good in those stages of the race and we have just got to work on a few little strengths,” Davison said.

“I’m disappointed in myself, we were expecting a lot out of ourselves. Great signs and we know this is their territory, this track. To have both of us on the podium is special.”

Broc Feeney shares his first podium with teammate and winner of race two, Shane van Gisbergen. Picture: Getty Images
Broc Feeney shares his first podium with teammate and winner of race two, Shane van Gisbergen. Picture: Getty Images

FIRST PODIUM

While defending champion van Gisbergen is at the top of his game, 19-year-old Feeney’s performance in Tasmania was eye-catching given he had not raced at the track before the weekend.

After the Triple Eight duo started from the front row of the grid for the first sprint race, Feeney grabbed second position in just his sixth Supercars race.

Feeney made an impressive start, getting the jump on pole sitter van Gisbergen off the start line before the race was red flagged early after an opening lap smash involving Jack Le Brocq and Andre Heimgartner.

The teenager’s breakthrough podium came after he finished fifth on Saturday.

“It’s bloody awesome to be honest. I thought coming here this weekend we had a chance of trying to snag a podium,” said Feeney, who has replaced seven-time champion Jamie Whincup at the championship-winning team.

“We rolled out pretty strong to qualify second and race with Shane, the best dude in Australia at the moment and to finish P2 behind him, one-two for the team, it’s awesome.”

“I was just hoping I would get a good one (start), I did and I got away and then had a little bit of a margin over Shane and then obviously the red flag and complete reset and go again.

“I am just loving life at the moment.”

Feeney finished the second race in eighth place.

SLADE SCARE

Tim Slade slammed fellow Ford driver Cameron Waters for a “bonehead move” after he survived a heart-stopping moment in Sunday’s opening sprint race.

Slade was sent flying off track at high-speed after contact from Cameron Waters as they rubbed panels jostling for position heading into turn six.

The Blanchard Racing driver was forced off the track in a cloud of dust and skidded across the grass sideways and then back across the track in front of oncoming traffic.

He then ran off the other side of the track again before coming to a stop in the gravel and was then, remarkably, able to rejoin the field without hitting another car.

Waters was slapped with a pit-lane drive through penalty by race officials for his part in the incident.

Slade later slammed Waters for his “dangerous” move.

“The move was done, we had a lot more pace than him and got overlap out of the hairpin and had a run on him and thought it was ‘You beauty, let’s go’,” Slade said.

“It was a bonehead move and pushed us off the track and I guess maybe just a little bit of frustration that a little new team supplied with one of their old cars was beating them.

“Maybe worry a little less about us and worry about everyone else.

“It’s obviously extremely fast there. When you come off the track and then you are going backwards and you get a bit of air, I instantly thought about the wall at the outside of turn six and then next thing was thinking about another car coming around the corner and cleaning them up as we went through backwards at a bit of pace.

“Fortunately, (I) didn’t hit anything more and do some serious damage.”

Waters said the incident was “just racing” and he “would do the exact same thing again”.

car crash at Symmonds Plains. Picture:
car crash at Symmonds Plains. Picture:
Jack Le Brocq and Andre Heimgartner cannon into the tyre barrier. Picture: DMAC Photography
Jack Le Brocq and Andre Heimgartner cannon into the tyre barrier. Picture: DMAC Photography

RUNNING REPAIRS

Matt Stone Racing had to work furiously to get Jack Le Brocq’s car repaired in time to start the second race on the front row of the grid after he suffered major damage in a race-one opening lap smash.

Le Brocq and Brad Jones Racing’s Andre Heimgartner locked wheels at the final turn and both cannoned into the tyre barrier, forcing the race to be red flagged.

The opening race was stopped for about 20 minutes while officials retrieved the cars and made repairs to the tyre wall.

Heimgartner was able to return to the grid for the restart, while Le Brocq was unable to take part in the race as his car headed back to the garage for repairs.

The team was able to fix the car in time for Le Brocq to start the second race from second place on the grid with his teammate Todd Hazelwood starting from fourth.

After a perfect start to get the jump on pole sitter Davison off the line, Le Brocq’s luck ran out on the next lap when he locked his brakes and ran off at turn four, pushing him to the back of the field.

PICK OF POLES

For the first time in Supercars history, the series has had five different pole sitters to start the championship season.

Anton De Pasquale and Brodie Kostecki claimed the two poles for the opening two races at Sydney Motorsport Park and Cameron Waters put his car at the front of the grid for the first race at Symmons Plains on Saturday.

Shane van Gisbergen and Will Davison then claimed their first poles of the year for Sunday’s two sprint races in Tasmania.

Breakthrough podium: Kid taking it right up to SVG

Championship leader Shane van Gisbergen has led home a one-two finish for Triple Eight as his rookie teammate Broc Feeney claimed his first Supercars podium finish in a dramatic sprint race at Symmons Plains.

After the Red Bull duo started from the front row of the grid for the first of two sprint races on Sunday, van Gisbergen claimed his second win of the round as Feeney grabbed second place in just his sixth Supercars race.

Broc Feeney (left) celebrates with Shane van Gisbergen after their one-two finsh. Picture: Getty Images
Broc Feeney (left) celebrates with Shane van Gisbergen after their one-two finsh. Picture: Getty Images

The race was marred by a high-speed opening lap crash when Jack Le Brocq and Andre Heimgartner locked wheels at the final turn and cannoned into the tyre barrier, forcing the race to be red flagged.

Feeney had got the jump on pole sitter van Gisbergen off the start line before the race was stopped following the early racing incident.

The race was stopped for 20 minutes while officials retrieved the cars and made repairs to the tyre wall, but it didn’t take long for van Gisbergen to reclaim the lead from his teammate once the race restarted.

Feeney emerged in front of his teammate again after van Gisbergen’s pit stop on lap 28 but he allowed the champion to pass soon after to lead them home to the finish of the 44-lap race.

While defending champion van Gisbergen is at the top of his game, 19-year-old Feeney’s performance so far in Tasmania has been eye-catching given he had not raced at the track before this weekend.

After his win in Saturday’s opening sprint race, van Gisbergen’s victory extended his lead at the top of the Supercars championship to 43 points with another race to go on Sunday.

Van Gisbergen said it was Feeney’s moment after securing his first podium.

“It’s fantastic and this is Broc’s moment to have his first podium with P2, he led the race for a while and got me at the start,” van Gisbergen said.

“I’m just stoked, it’s really cool to have him part of it. I’m stoked to be up front.”

Feeney’s breakthrough podium came after he finished fi

“It’s bloody awesome to be honest. I thought coming here this weekend we had a chance of trying to snag a podium,” Feeney said.

“We rolled out pretty strong to qualify second and race with Shane, the best dude in Australia at the moment and to finish P2 behind him, one-two for the team, it’s awesome.”

“I was just hoping I would get a good one (start), I did and I got away and then had a little bit of a margin over Shane and then obviously the red flag and complete reset and go again.

“I am just loving life at the moment.”

Broc Feeney leads Shane van Gisbergen during race two at Symmons Plains. Picture: Getty Images
Broc Feeney leads Shane van Gisbergen during race two at Symmons Plains. Picture: Getty Images

David Reynolds finished third to claim his first podium for Grove Racing this year.

Tim Slade survived a heart-stopping moment after he was sent flying off track at high-speed after making contact with Cameron Waters on lap 20.

As Slade and Waters rubbed panels as they battled for position heading into turn six, Slade was forced wide off the track and skidded across the grass sideways then back across the track in front of oncoming traffic.

He then skidded off the other side of the track again before coming to a stop in the kitty litter and was then, remarkably, able to rejoin the field without hitting another car.

Ford star Waters was slapped with a pit-lane drive through penalty by race officials for a driving infringement for his part in the incident.

Slade later slammed Waters for instigating the scary moment.

“The move was done, we had a lot more pace than him and got overlap out of the hairpin and had a run on him and thought it was ‘You beauty, let’s go’,” Slade said.

“It was a bonehead move and pushed us off the track and I guess maybe just a little bit of frustration that a little new team supplied with one of their old cars was beating them.”

“Maybe worry a little less about us and worry about everyone else.

“It’s obviously extremely fast there. When you come off the track and then you are going backwards and you get a bit of air, I instantly thought about the wall at the outside of turn six and then next thing was thinking about another car coming around the corner and cleaning them up as we went through backwards at a bit of pace.

“Fortunately didn’t hit anything more and do some serious damage.”

Dick Johnson Racing’s Will Davison will start from pole for Sunday’s second sprint race ahead of Le Brocq, if the damage to his car from the opening lap crash can be repaired in time, and van Gisbergen.

‘I s*** myself’: SVG’s sprint pole flier comes unstuck

Championship leader Shane van Gisbergen claimed his first pole position of the year before he “shat himself” in the second qualifying session after he was left with a punctured tyre following a clash with Tim Slade.

The defending Supercars champion will start from the front of the grid for the first of Sunday’s two sprint races at Symmons Plains as Triple Eight secured a front row lock-out with van Gisbergen’s rookie teammate Broc Feeney qualifying second.

But van Gisbergen’s luck turned when he was in pursuit of another potential pole lap in the qualifying session for Sunday’s second sprint race when he made contact with Slade at turn six and the damage left him with a flat tyre.

The incident forced the session to be red flagged, leaving Dick Johnson Racing veteran Will Davison on pole for the second race.

The time van Gisbergen had already banked was enough to position him third on the grid behind Davison and Jack Le Brocq.

Explaining the drama, van Gisbergen said he was left with nowhere to go after Slade changed his line at the last minute.

“It was a bit of a shame, he mucked up out of the hairpin and let someone go and I was on a ripper, big tow and then he quite of went wide at the sweeper and I thought ‘Ok, he has given me the line’ and then at the last minute he came back to the race line,” van Gisbergen said.

“And I thought ‘Oh, s---’ and I shat myself and just went up the inside but then he tried to race me and turned down and I’m on a heater, he’s not.

Broc Feeney has put in another stunning qualifying performance.
Broc Feeney has put in another stunning qualifying performance.

“Then (I got) a flat tyre, which sucks. Lucky we put down a banker, that’s probably the saving grace. But it is what it is.”

Qualifying ninth for the second race, Slade’s car was also left with damage after he said van Gisbergen “bombed” him at the last corner.

“It’s a shame because we had quite a fast car today, we would have liked to have a go on greens there at the end there,” Slade said.

“It’s annoying not to get a lap-in at the end and just creates unnecessary work for the guys.”

Davison and DJR had made the call to bank his qualifying lap early in the session to conserve tyres and it was enough to secure his first pole of the year.

“We had one set of tyres then so I just knew if we put it together we would be right there in contention,” Davison said.

“I knew the lap was pretty good. I knew we were going to be in the top few and was watching Shane’s sectors pretty closely, we were a couple of hundreths up on him and it was going to be really close until the incident.”

Rivals warned: Play ‘hardball’ or SVG aggro wins every time

Supercars great Mark Skaife says it is time for Shane van Gisbergen’s rivals to “get hardball” with the defending champion after the Triple Eight star put himself back at the top of the standings with an aggressive drive to win at Symmons Plains.

In another sign the New Zealand ace will be the man to beat again in 2022, van Gisbergen made a statement with his second race win of the year to take the championship lead after the opening race of the second round in Tasmania on Saturday.

Shane van Gisbergen throws his Red Bull Ampol Holden Commodore ZB around the Symmons Plains raceway. Picture: Getty Images
Shane van Gisbergen throws his Red Bull Ampol Holden Commodore ZB around the Symmons Plains raceway. Picture: Getty Images

But it was a “nightmare day” for Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert, who went from leading the championship at the start of the race to finishing at the back of the grid after a luckless day on track.

Starting the race from fifth on the grid, van Gisbergen took victory in the 44-lap race ahead of Dick Johnson Racing’s Will Davison and Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters, who had started the race on pole.

But the Red Bull racer’s combative driving was in the spotlight after his aggressive passing moves on Davison and Waters coming out of the turn four hairpin during the race.

Skaife said he did not have an issue with van Gisbergen’s aggressive driving but said it was time for his rivals to start playing the same game.

“If you are going to beat van Gisbergen, you have got to play how he plays and that is hardball,” Skaife said.

“I love the aggression, we celebrate how he has driven.

“The two passes he put on around the outside of turn one and then those two passes he put on at turn four are stunning passes.

“But those other blokes have let him get away with it. So what you’ve got to do in the end if you’re Cam Waters or Will Davison and he runs into you like that, you run into him hard and put him in the grass.

Van Gisbergen celebrates his hard-fought win in Tasmania. Picture: Getty Images
Van Gisbergen celebrates his hard-fought win in Tasmania. Picture: Getty Images

“They’ve got to actually stump up. If you want to beat him, you better get on with it.”

Van Gisbergen, who now holds a 17-point lead over DJR’s Anton De Pasquale (who finished sixth) in the championship, admitted after the race he had to “rub” his rivals up a bit to force his way to the front of the field.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be able to pass them. What a great race,” van Gisbergen said.

“I had to rub them up a bit but that’s what we are here to do and hopefully it was a good show for everyone and hopefully you enjoyed it.

“We did this last year and then fell back a bit on the Sunday last year so I need to be better tomorrow so I’m focused on that, but super stoked.

“Would you rather I followed them?”

Davison said he did not have the pace to match van Gisbergen.

“It was a good day for us today, at the end of the day Shane was just too fast in race trim,” Davison said.

“I’m happy, a bit disappointed obviously but big congratulations to SVG, great job by them.”

Erebus Motorsport’s Brodie Kostecki and Broc Feeney rounded out the top-five as the Triple Eight rookie claimed his first top-five finish.

PRIME POSITION

Earlier, Waters claimed his first pole position of the year while a young gun upstaged his championship-winning teammate in qualifying.

Waters took out his third consecutive Symmons Plains pole when he put his Ford Mustang at the front of the grid for the opening race.

The two-time Bathurst 1000 runner-up bagged a pair of poles at the Tasmanian track last year but was unable to convert.

But 19-year-old Feeney’s effort to qualify third in front of teammate van Gisbergen grabbed attention, having never driven at the track before.

Last year’s pole position king De Pasquale and early championship leader Mostert were high-profile qualifying casualties, both missing the top 10.

De Pasquale and Mostert, who experienced a power steering issue in qualifying with oil leakage, started from 12th and 13th on the grid, respectively.

Van Gisbergen took victory in the 44-lap race ahead of Dick Johnson Racing’s Will Davison and Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters.
Van Gisbergen took victory in the 44-lap race ahead of Dick Johnson Racing’s Will Davison and Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters.

CHAMPIONSHIP BLOW

Mostert had led the Supercars championship for the first time in his career leading into the second round in Tasmania.

But the Bathurst 1000 champion’s stint with the orange numbers on his car was short-lived.

After starting mid-pack following his qualifying troubles, Mostert finished 23rd and he fell from first to fifth in the championship standings.

Mostert was forced to the pits with damage to the front right of his car with seven laps to go after ending up as collateral damage in an incident between Mark Winterbottom and David Reynolds at the hairpin, for which Winterbottom was hit with a time penalty.

“It was an absolute nightmare day for the team and I just looked at the standings and saw Nick (Percat, 24th) down there as well,” Mostert said.

“So we will regroup and come back tomorrow and try and get some better results.”

Never been on track yet rookie stuns Supercars rivals

Tickford Racing star Cameron Waters has claimed his first pole position of the year while a rookie upstaged his championship-winning teammate in qualifying at Symmons Plains.

Waters put his Ford Mustang at the front of the grid for Saturday’s opening race at the Tasmanian track ahead of Dick Johnson Racing’s Will Davison in the second round of the Supercars championship.

But it was Triple Eight rookie Broc Feeney’s effort to qualify third in front of teammate and defending Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen (fifth) that grabbed attention.

Last year’s pole position king Anton De Pasquale (DJR) and championship leader Chaz Mostert (Walkinshaw Andretti United) were high-profile qualifying casualties, both missing the top 10.

Cameron Waters celebrates grabbing pole in his Monster Energy Racing Ford Mustang. Picture: Getty Images
Cameron Waters celebrates grabbing pole in his Monster Energy Racing Ford Mustang. Picture: Getty Images

De Pasquale and Mostert will start from 12th and 13th on the grid, respectively.

Remarkably, 19-year-old Feeney, who replaced seven-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup at the championship-winning team, had never driven at the track before.

“It’s awesome, (I had) never drove the track (until) a few hours ago, so P3 on the grid for this afternoon’s race is pretty exciting,” Feeney said.

“The team have given me a great car, we kept it pretty similar. We didn’t have the best tyres out there but we made it work at the end.

“I knew we were going to be strong here, obviously the cars are capable of winning races so that gives me confidence.”

Waters, who had a pair of poles at Symmons Plains last year, said a strong start and tyre life would be the key to converting from pole position in the race.

“The guys have done a fantastic job. The car was pretty ordinary in practice two, wasn’t bad in practice one and they have just made it better again. Massive thanks to my team,” Waters said.

“We didn’t have tyre life last year and the car is very different to last year and hopefully we have learnt a few things and it’s nice on its tyres and we can get a trophy today.”

Erebus Motorsport’s Brodie Kostecki, who grabbed a pole in the opening round at Sydney Motorsport Park, qualified fourth for the opening 44-lap race in Tasmania.

Van Gisbergen and Mostert won the opening two races of the year at SMP earlier this month.

Mostert held a 12-point lead in the championship heading into the second round ahead of De Pasquale and van Gisbergen.

We’re still chasing SVG: Supercars leader’s frank admission

Championship leader Chaz Mostert says his Bathurst 1000 victory last year has given him a “big leg-up” for the Supercars title battle this season but still considers Shane van Gisbergen the man he has to take down to win a maiden crown.

Leading the championship for the first time in his career after an opening round win in Sydney, Mostert has his sights set on a breakthrough championship win to sit alongside his two Bathurst 1000 victories.

The 29-year-old scored a memorable win he “celebrated a little too hard” at Mount Panorama with Lee Holdsworth last December, seven years after his 2014 victory with Paul Morris.

Mostert made a strong start to his 2022 campaign with a pair of podiums at Sydney Motorsport Park, finishing third and first in the first two races to lead the championship ahead of the second round at Symmons Plains this weekend.

The Walkinshaw Andretti United star said the Bathurst win had delivered a major confidence boost for his team but he had a lot of work ahead to keep himself in the title frame.

“For us, obviously the Bathurst 1000 win was a big leg-up coming into this year but we have just got to keep building week in, week out,” Mostert said.

“No doubt about it for my team and myself after such a fantastic result at the 1000, it’s the one we all want to win if we can’t win a championship, so confidence wise the team is on an all-time high over the last couple of years.

“We know we can achieve the results that we want to, we have just got to keep putting in the hard work and keep turning up.

“It is a very momentum built championship — and motorsport is in general — so you have got to believe in yourself that you can do it and only being able to achieve results gives you that belief.

“We probably still need a couple more good weekends under our belt to believe that we are a shot.”

Chad Mostert says Shane Van Gisbergen is still the driver to catch.
Chad Mostert says Shane Van Gisbergen is still the driver to catch.

Mostert holds a 12-point lead over Dick Johnson Racing’s Anton De Pasquale and is 27 points clear of defending champion van Gisbergen, who he said remained the driver to beat.

“I’m sure everyone (after) you come in from a session, you look where Shane is at,” Mostert said.

“Qualifying and racing, he demolished us last year so early on in the piece so he is definitely the main man that everyone is trying to chase and beat.”

Mostert finished a career-best third in the drivers’ championship last year in his second season with Walkinshaw Andretti United.

While he acknowledged this year’s title fight had just started, Mostert said the lead in the standings was welcome as he returned to the Tasmanian track where he also won in 2021.

“It’s good to tick another box. I never led before, never had a chance to have fancy coloured numbers on the car,” Mostert said.

“I will probably have some new profile pictures after practice one which will be fantastic of the car and it’s cool. But we’re only one round in.

“It’s a long way to go but we’ll take that. It’s all a morale booster and confidence booster for the team.”

Mostert said had had made sure he took the time to properly celebrate his Bathurst 1000 victory over the off-season.

“I probably celebrated a little too hard to be completely honest and it kind of bled a fair bit into this year, too,”

“After winning in ‘14 …. I didn’t celebrate it hard enough whereas this time I definitely celebrated a bit too hard.

“They don’t come around very easily the Bathurst 1000 wins so you have got to really enjoy them when you get them. So I’m probably still carrying a few too many extra kilos over the break but you have to really enjoy it.

“Success in Supercars championship does not often happen so you have got to grab it with both hands. So I had a great off-season but I’m looking forward to this year.”

Originally published as Supercars Tasmania Supersprint: Latest news, results and talking points

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